Time for Landcare Groups to be Heard
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Landcarers in the Northern Territory are calling for the Federal Government to:
1. Release the funds already committed to Landcare.
2. Consult openly with the Landcare movement about how the NLP will be delivered 2018 onward.
WE NEED THE $100Mill FUNDS TO BE ALLOCATED NOW
· The $100M MYEFO funding for Landcare has not yet been released. We are looking down the line at a possible destructive and disruptive gap in funding to all our Landcare groups if this is not released soon. Current funding runs out June 2018.
· The $100M of funding for Landcare secured by the Australian Greens over the Governments Back packer tax reforms was announced October 2016 citing the importance of continuing to support Landcare. The funding was due to start flowing immediately and certainly within the 2016/17 financial year. Not a cent has been released to date.
· We are now into August of 2017 with landcare funding secured only until June 2018. It is essential that funding be allocated now.
· There is the prospect of an election in the first half of 2018 which threatens the timely release of these funds.
· Most landcarers have had the experience of a gap in funding, loss of momentum and staff, and consequent reduction in commitment and motivation.
WE NEED TO BE CONSULTED RE NLP NEXT 4 YEARS OF FUNDING
· The announcement of the $1 Billion dollars over five years for the National Landcare Program (NLP) was announced in May 2017 budget – a 20% reduction on previous funding.
· We and the government committed to engage in meaningful opportunities for the National Landcare Network (NLN) and Landcare Australia (LA) and other stakeholders to consult with them over the allocation and expenditure of these funds including project design.
· We have continually sought assurance of these opportunities from Minister Frydenberg, Minister Hartsuyker, from advisors from both these ministers and also Minister Joyce’s offices, as well as from both departments (Ag. and Env.). We have continually been given reassurances and are still being told that no decisions have been made and that meaningful consultation will occur. Delays are ostensibly caused by matters between the two Minister’s Offices.
· Even if no decisions have in fact been made, there are proposals which are being discussed with some stakeholders and not others. It is not acceptable to the Landcare movement that it is not being included in these discussions of proposals before they become decisions!
· We seek urgent disclosure from both departments of all current proposals relating to NLP regional stream and national stream funding (if these streams still exist, or of whatever may have replaced them).
· The government has available to it a ready point at which is can consult with the entire national landcare network of well in excess of 160 000 members through the National Landcare Network.
· It is unacceptable that this consultation is not occurring, we call on both Ministers to instruct the departments to immediately commence meaningful consultations with the NLN on the NLP projects and funding allocations.
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