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31Dec

NLN 2022 Year in Review: Let's seize the moment

Blog | 31 Dec 2022 |

We enter 2023 with a feeling of optimism and possibility for the Landcare movement - largely the result of the hard work and advocacy done in 2022.

The reporting year included a Federal election and the NLN committed significant time working with our members before the election in developing the Community Landcare Futures Framework and in advocating it to both of the major parties ahead of the election and with the new Government following the election.

We were very pleased to see the proposal for a National Landcare Facilitator, funded within the NLN, adopted by the Government, and the substantive work done by the NLN and others on the Stimulus Package which has been in part adopted into what has become the Landcare Rangers program.

The NLN looks forward to continuing working with the government in the design of these initiatives during the reporting period and into the future.

For a comprehensive look at the activities of the NLN during the 2021-2022 Reporting period, download the 2022 NLN Annual Report.

As a movement, let's keep looking forward and seize the moment! Here are some highlights and reflections about the year ahead.

2021-2022 Highlights

  • The successful completion of the landmark $14 million Landcare Led Recovery Grants Program. As partners to the delivery of the LLBFRG, earnings from the program allowed the NLN to employ additional resources.
  • Partnering with Mulloon Institute to restore and rehydrate catchments. We are excited to be partnering with the Mulloon Institute – a leader in regenerative agricultural education – to ensure our Community Landcarers get the help they need to adopt best practices for the restoration and rehydration of their catchment areas.
  • Entering into a partnership with Farmers for Climate Action, and co-hosting with them the Rebuilding Community after Climate Disasters webinar.
  • Our Members’ Council shared information and undertook work on matters of importance to all members including the future of Landcare and the National Landcare Program, providing direct input into the review of the NLP2 program
  • Launch of the Australian Community Landcare Futures Framework. The Framework was underpinned by three priority initiatives: Landcare Futures Community Investment Initiative, the Landcare Futures Environmental Markets Leadership Initiative and the Landcare Futures Innovation Initiative.
  • Providing funding to State and Territory peak Landcare bodies, as part of our agreement under the National Landcare Program Phase Two to build their capacity, and enable them to undertake Landcare projects and support their participation in the National Landcare Network.
  • Initiating a Communications Forum in which our Communications Manager facilitated knowledge and resource exchange workshops between Communications Managers and/or EOs from all State and Territory Organsations
  • Support of the State Landcare Awards and preparation for the face-to-face National Landcare Conference after a COVID-related hiatus.


Looking forward

Community driven Landcare is inherently both practical and optimistic. Mobilising the collective energy and spirit of the nation-wide Landcare movement is needed now more than ever to help tackle the climate and extinction challenges that face Australia, challenges that were highlighted in the most recent national State of the Environment Report.

The work that Landcare does to look after country is an important contributor to the resilience of both environments and people in the face of extreme events like floods and droughts. As the promising outcomes from the Landcare led Bushfire Recovery Project demonstrate, with the right kind of support the Australian Landcare community has the capacity, ability and reach to delivery environmental recovery at scale. Engagement in Landcare is also a positive for community well-being and even mental health – an investment in both social and environmental capital with an impressive ROI.

Diminishing investment in the Landcare community over recent years has put the legacy of 30 years of community development and capacity building in communities caring for the land at risk. The National Landcare Network welcomes recent announcements of Government investment in sustainable agriculture and proposed legislative, institutional and market reforms in national environmental governance, and commitments to fund Landcare rangers and coordination. As a movement with its origins in sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship, we are pleased to see commitments which will support landholders’ roles as stewards of Australia’s agricultural lands, biodiversity, and natural capital. Access to emerging environmental markets will be crucial and we look forward to working with the government to help farmers and other land managers continue to enhance agricultural sustainability, improve biodiversity, enhance biosecurity, and realise carbon opportunities.

We look forward also to being consulted in the development and implementation of the National Landcare Program in its third iteration in the coming year. And we call for a genuine commitment through the NLP3 to support on-ground community landcare groups and the networks which enable and facilitate them to deliver local solutions to our shared national challenges. Our Landcare volunteers and the professional staff which support them achieve amazing outcomes, they need to be properly resourced and empowered.

As the national peak body for community Landcare, we have an important responsibility to represent, connect and facilitate the networks, state bodies, local groups and professionals who deliver the on-ground results. Every piece of the landcare ecosystem is important, and we celebrate their achievements.

Targeted investment in the Australian Landcare community will mobilise one of the largest community-based environmental volunteer movements in Australia at a time when it is greatly needed. Investment to strengthen the social and natural capital outcomes of community Landcare, enabling grassroots climate action, participation in environmental markets, and contributing to land stewardship from the ground up.

Landcare uniquely unites people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives in a desire to help look after the productivity, sustainability, and biodiversity of our land. Local people for local places. The movement is imbued with a renewed spirit of optimism.

Let’s seize the moment.

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