Victoria’s Landcare networks could be forced to lay off their facilitators next year after the Andrews Labor Government failed to fund the positions.
The news comes as Landcare marks its 30th anniversary as a national organisation this week.
The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy said The Nationals and Liberals first funded Landcare facilitators in 2011.
“Landcare groups and networks now employ 79 part-time facilitators which support 60 per cent of the 600 Landcare groups across Victoria,” Ms Kealy said.
“Historically facilitators have been funded on a three-year cycle and understandably, the Landcare network was bitterly disappointed when the Andrews Government only gave them a year’s worth of funding in this years budget.
“I have grave concerns that it won’t be continued and our fantastic facilitators will be out of a job come July next year.
“Landcare is much more than environmental volunteerism. It’s about building strong, resilient communities that are proactive in managing the landscape.”
Ms Kealy said Landcare groups, with the support of their local facilitators, had done some fantastic work across the Lowan electorate and included;
- Project Platypus – a community based Landcare network working in the Upper Wimmera Catchment supporting 11 Landcare groups and local landholders to improve catchment health; and
- Yarrilinks Inc. – an independent community-based organisation supporting five local Landcare groups to conserve and restore biodiversity and maintaining productive agriculture in the Yarriambiack region
“Volunteers regularly step in and take action in areas where the government has failed such as controlling noxious weeds,” she said.
“As government departments have cut their frontline services such as controlling noxious weeks, local volunteer based Landcare groups have stepped in to take action, relying heavily on the expertise and knowledge of their local facilitator.
“It is a real shame that instead of supporting that work, Labor has delivered them savage budget cuts and no assurance of funding for our fabulous Landcare facilitators beyond June next year.”