So, an Australian Environment and Communications Senate Standing Committee is examining the “history, effectiveness, performance and future of the National Landcare Program”…
There is a fair bit of material to draw upon about the history, effectiveness and performance of the Landcare program. There have been reviews previously, including by the Australian National Audit Office (it wasn’t pretty), other Senate Committees, the Departments themselves and the occasional think-piece from academia and stakeholders. Of course there will be the necessary attempts to understand the tangled nature of the Landcare movement, where the money has gone, and what has been achieved. This reflection is important, very important, but only really important as an enabler to help shape a positive future for the Australian landscape – its biodiversity and its people.
Previous reports have hinted at the need for further work in developing our approach to landscape investment
So what of the future? This is the bit where vision and leadership is required – and who better to help forge that vision than those elected to represent the States and Territories of our federated nation.
“expenditure on programs to restore the landscape shouldn’t be accounted as an ‘expense’, these costs should be capitalised, recognising they are investments in the Australian landscape asset that will harvest returns for generations”
Australia is an ancient continent. After tens-of-thousands of years of indigenous use of the already-old land, we decided to ramp up our impacts…
In pursuit of agricultural development, for the expansion of the national economy, we cleared the land of its native ecosystems and processes and tried to impart a Euro-centric farming system. We used the full suite of policy levers available to effectively clear the land…
- We used “direct action” – paying people to ring-bark and clear trees.
- We used “incentives” – by providing landholders tax-deductions for clearing native vegetation (as late as the early 1980’s these were still available).
- We used “regulatory instruments” – when people took up leases over land they were required to ‘develop’ their blocks (clear more native vegetation).
We did a great job too…
Landcare is celebrating it’s twenty-fifth birthday this year. But what is Landcare today?
For a background on the development of Landcare, this publication is great, it highlights the organic development of the Landcare movement, especially the individuals and groups involved.
If you want to engage in Landcare, who do you talk to?