The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester today welcomed a Federal Government investment of more than $1 billion for phase two of the National Landcare Program.
Mr Chester said a key component of the funding package was $450 million for the Regional Land Partnerships Program to deliver natural resource management at a regional scale.
“This investment reaffirms the Coalition’s long-standing commitment to effectively manage our natural environment,” Mr Chester said.
“Many great Landcare projects have been undertaken across Gippsland and achieved important environmental outcomes. Local knowledge is crucial to the success of these projects to ensure they deliver what is best for the community, while also protecting and restoring the land.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce said phase two of the National Landcare Program, to be delivered from July 2017 to June 2023 as announced in this year’s budget, recognised farmers’ vital role in land management. “Our farmers manage 61 per cent of Australia’s land mass and can make a significant contribution to the protection of vital assets such as our soils, water, vegetation and biodiversity,” said Minister Joyce. “Our investment recognises this vital role, and includes funding to further develop sustainable land practices and build the resilience, competitiveness and productivity of our farmers including additional funding for Red Imported Fire Ant eradication and pest animal and weed management.” Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg said this next phase of the program would help Landcare, farmer groups and Indigenous communities continue to delivering on-ground biodiversity and sustainable agricultural outcomes that benefit both local communities and the environment. The phase two investment also includes:
• $47.4 million for the management of World Heritage sites;
• $24.7 million for the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, in addition to $83 million already allocated to implement the plan from 2018-19 to 2021-22;
• $93 million for the ongoing support of existing Indigenous Protected Areas plus $15 million new funding;
• $20 million for the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions to protect native ecosystems and habitats from pest animals and weeds; and
• $5 million for an environment small grants program (up to $50,000) open to local community and environment groups for natural resource management activities.
Minister Frydenberg said: “Guided by findings from the National Landcare Program Review, the regional delivery program will build on the strengths of the previous program and continue to connect and engage with local communities as part of its efforts to protect Australia’s unique environment and natural resources.” “Investment under this next phase will be targeted and delivered against national priorities that will benefit rural communities and deliver environmental and agricultural priorities.” Over the coming weeks, the Federal Government will be seeking the community’s views on the delivery arrangements of the $450 million Regional Land Partnerships Program.
Mr Chester said the consultation would include meetings held across Australia to provide further information, answer questions and seek views. “This is an opportunity for farmers, Landcare groups, natural resource management practitioners, scientists, Indigenous and local communities to get more information and provide feedback on the program and influence its design and delivery,” Mr Chester said.
“Anyone who is interested can attend the information session scheduled to be held in Melbourne on October 10 or they will be able to provide feedback through the National Landcare Program website, www.nrm.gov.au.” Further details about the sessions will be released via www.nrm.gov.au and the National Landcare Program Facebook page in coming weeks.