We are shocked to hear that the Government is intending to take funding away from Landcare to pay for short term drought relief. Landcare focuses on natural resource management as it offers long-term solutions to building resilient drought strategies.
Landcare is a grass roots organisation run by the community with 40% of farmers Landcare members and a further 35% being influenced by Landcare. Members of Landcare groups are on average 50% more likely to adopt new, more sustainable agricultural practices (Landcare Australia submission to House of Representatives 2003)
Taking money away from Landcare directly undermines the development and implementation of natural resource management strategies which will help farmers to minimise the effects of drought in the future.
Landcare is a critical part of effective long term land management and is primarily operated by volunteers who are already significantly under-resourced. The removal of funding will lead to greater land management issues all across Australia.
Successive governments have recognised that temporary funding is just a short term remedial action to the problem of drought. Australian, state and territory primary industries ministers agreed in 2008 that drought support based on Exceptional Circumstances programs is no longer the most appropriate method (National Standing Council on Primary Industries). New drought reform packages are being designed and introduced to help farmers better meet environmental and business challenges, including drought.
Reduction in Landcare funding is failing to reward farmers who would like to adopt a more integrated and sustainable approach to farming using natural resource management strategies.
Don't divert Landcare funding - use it to mitigate future relief.