7 September 2009
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke today thanked Landcare volunteers and community groups across Australia for their dedication and hard work, at the start of National Landcare Week (7-13 September).
This year marks two decades since Landcare Australia began.
National Landcare Week celebrates the essential role of the Landcare movement in protecting farmland, coastal areas, rivers and bushland.
More than 100,000 volunteers in around 4,500 local Landcare groups roll up their sleeves in communities each year to replant vegetation, repair erosion and improve agricultural productivity.
Currently around three-quarters of Australian farmers are involved in, or benefit from, Landcare.
Mr Burke said much of Australia’s vast landscape would be unproductive or severely degraded without the vision and dedication of everyone involved in Landcare.
“Landcare Week is an opportunity for us to recognise the vital work of Landcare volunteers and groups in making significant improvements to our parks, farmland, reserves and waterways,” he said.
“The Rudd Government thanks Landcare volunteers for their dedication and community spirit and we want to ensure this iconic Australian network continues to grow stronger.
“When Simon Crean was a minister in the Hawke Government, he oversaw the establishment of the national Landcare network and now, two decades later, we mark its on-going success.
“With the challenges of climate change, sustainable food production and the protection of Australia’s biodiversity, Landcare is as vital as ever.
“I have met with Landcare groups and volunteers across the length and breadth of Australia.
“This included Landcare volunteers in Colac, Victoria to discuss what they need on-the-ground to continue their invaluable work.
“Last month I met with volunteers in Port Macquarie, NSW who are replacing invasive pest species with indigenous native plants, to support a wildlife corridor and repair flood damage.
“I also met with Landcare volunteers recently at the Little River site in Dubbo, who are working on increasing soil carbon through perennial pastures and minimising tillage.
“And, in another example, last year in Queensland I met the inspiring Landcare volunteers who have worked with other community groups to repair the coastal environment around Sarina Beach.”
In July the Federal Government announced $26 million in funding for 56 Landcare projects across Australia – part of a major investment in land management and sustainable agriculture.
In November 2008, $8.9 million was committed to 46 Landcare projects through the open grants funding round under Caring for our Country.