Regional Landcare Facilitators (RLFs) from across the country gathered at a national forum earlier this month to share their experiences in natural resources management across Australia.
The annual conference was held from 4-5 December in Tweed Heads, NSW and organised by the Federal Government which provides funds to regional NRM groups for Regional Landcare Facilitators.
Regional Landcare Facilitators are located in each of the natural resource management (NRM) regions across Australia. They promote the uptake of sustainable farm and land management practices and also establish, assist and develop community Landcare and production groups so that those groups can help share information and provide support to farmers and other land managers to meet challenges such as climate change.
Rangelands NRM’s Program Manager for Sustainable Pastoralism Paul Erkelenz and Project Manager for Sustainable Pastoralism Tim Wiley are jointly sharing the Regional Landcare Facilitator role at Rangelands NRM with Paul concentrating on the southern rangelands and Tim covering the Pilbara and the Kimberley.
Brett de Hayr and Russel Glover from the Department of Agriculture gave an update on the Federal Government’s policy for Caring for Country and Landcare Australia.
Mr Erkelenz said the new government is committed to a sustainable environment and to sustainable agriculture, but is currently going through a process of reviewing government investment in these areas.
“It is likely that Caring for Country and Landcare programs will be merged. Details on the new policies should start emerging in the first half of next year. Calls for applications for any new funding initiatives under the new program are unlikely before July 2014,” he said.
A number of the RLF’s from across Australia gave presentation at the forum.
“Our presentation highlighted the scale and vast distance of the WA rangelands,” Mr Wiley said.
“We highlighted how we work with local groups and focus on things that can make a big impact over a large area.”
“In contrast, some of the much smaller regions in the eastern states have a challenge from so many Landcare groups, with up to 400 in some regions. In these regions RLF’s are focussing on building networks between groups to achieve outcomes on a larger scale,” Mr Wiley said.
The RFL’s will be focusing on the Sustainable Agriculture stream rather than biodiversity. Their focus will be on:
- encourage sustainable production of food;
- promote innovation in Australian agriculture and fishing practices;
- reduce the impact of weeds and pests on agriculture;
- improve the management of agriculture and fisheries and the natural resource base; and
- build a skilled and capable Landcare community.
For more information, contact Tim Wiley on 0488 195 921 or Paul Erkelenz on 0428 393 206