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.
Leader of The Nationals and Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh 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,” Mr Walsh said.
“Historically facilitators have been funded on a three-year cycle and the Landcare network was bitterly disappointed when the Andrews Government only gave them a year’s worth of funding in this year’s budget.”
Mr Walsh said that Landcare is much more than environmental volunteerism. It’s about building strong, resilient community networks that are proactive in managing their landscapes.
“As government departments have cut their frontline services such as controlling noxious weeds, local volunteer based Landcare groups have stepped in to take action, relying heavily on the expertise and knowledge of their local facilitator.”
“Labor’s failure to fund facilitators post June 2020 is undermining those community networks that do such great work on vital local environmental programs.
He said that without Landcare facilitators, volunteers will battle under the burden of developing, preparing and submitting project applications and then managing the projects once they are underway.
“It’s a real shame that instead of supporting the volunteer Landcare network, Labor has delivered budget cuts and no assurance of funding for facilitators beyond June next year.”