Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Budget shock for Landcare groups

There will be no Commonwealth funding for Landcare grants over the next four years, after re-assurances earlier in the year that Landcare would be quarantined from budget cuts.

June 3, 2014 3:10am

Last week the federal Department of Agriculture confirmed there was no money for new Landcare grants between now and 2018.

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said this was a devastating blow for Landcare groups around the country.

‘‘It is an insult, given the government is spending $525million on the Green Army.

‘‘The Landcare community took the government’s word that funding would be maintained; they took this to mean on-the-ground Landcare funding. There will be no Landcare funding round any more.

‘‘The department has confirmed that the entirety of the sustainable agriculture side of the national Landcare program funding has already been contracted or committed. Funding from regional NRM bodies is all that remains.’’

Minister Barnaby Joyce met with a delegation from the National Landcare Network at Parliament House in April.

After the meeting, network chairman David Walker expressed confidence that the assurances would allay the groundswell of concern that had swept through the Landcare community.

‘‘Minister Joyce has reaffirmed the Coalition’s pre-election commitment that the full Caring for Country and Landcare budgets will be maintained into the new National Landcare Program,’’ Mr Walker said in April.

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