Landcare planting seeds of cultural change

Western Landcare NSW welcomed Landcare NSW’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to Broken Hill last week where Far West NSW’s grassroot groups got the opportunity to put local land management information and suggestions on the table for review by NSW policy makers.

Landcare NSW CEO, Turlough Guerin and Western Landcare Chairman, Paul Heley, dropped into the Barrier Truth office for a chat following the Western Landcare Annual General Meeting and steering committee meeting held on October 24, providing grassroots groups the opportunity to provide essential information to Landcare NSW.

With Mr Heley remaining in the Chairman’s role, Western Landcare are still looking for someone to fill the Secretary’s role.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t find anyone to fill the role of Secretary, but we’re really excited to have Broken Hill’s Sharon Hocking taking on the Treasurer’s role and it’s great we’ve got some new members too,” said Mr Heley.

“The biggest news to come out of today is that each Landcare region now has funding for an Aboriginal Landcare Officer to work with them. Landcare NSW’s new Aboriginal Engagement Manager, Den Barber, is leading the Working Together Program until 2027, and there’s such a good fit between the values of First Nations people and Landcarers.

“Broken Hill is by far, the biggest Landcare group in the western region covering 42 per cent of the state,” said the Chairman. “All the Chairs from the 11 [Local Land Services] regions around NSW form the State Advisory Council, which meets four times a year – twice face-to-face in Sydney with Turlough’s team [Landcare NSW] to connect with representatives from the 35 member groups across the Western region, plus 24 school groups, with junior programs growing exponentially.

“These groups all form a conduit that gets vital information to Turlough and his team, including Landcare NSW’s board – it’s real bottom-up management, which is great,” says Mr Heley.

Landcare’s CEO Mr Guerin said it was great to see the “very ambitious vision” for the Imperial Lake project during his visit to the Silver City.

“There are about 300 member groups across the state with about 60,000 volunteers so it’s a big movement, and I’m committed to doing the listening to the grassroots groups and then go to the parliament with their feedback together with approximate costs for running proposed statewide programs,” Mr Guerin told the Truth.

“In March last year, we [Landcare NSW] secured $58.8 million to help support grassroot groups with projects up to June 2027, with last year’s figures showing about 85 per cent of previous funding going back out into the ground.

“Our big vision is to have one million Landcarers by 2040. Ideally, we’d like to see one in every 10 people identifying as Landcarers across the state. The folks here in the Broken Hill Landcare group are now working alongside Western regional Landcare, which is awesome.”

PICTURE: Landcare NSW CEO, Turlough Guerin and Western Landcare Chairman, Paul Heley. STUART KAVANAGH

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