No new Landcare grants a blow for Tasmanian community groups

Senator Peter Whish-Wilson has expressed his disappointment and concern that no new Landcare grants will be available for community groups over the next four years. Last night in Senate Estimates under questioning from Greens spokesperson for Agriculture Senator Rachel Siewert, Department of Agriculture officials confirmed that there is no money for new Landcare grants between now and 2018.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The government has cut $484 million from the entire Landcare program and now we hear there is no new funding available at all over the next four years.

“Landcare groups play a critical role in bringing the community together to solve local environmental issues.

“For every dollar the government invests, the community invests four to five dollars more and from this our environment and our producers benefit.

“An unskilled work-for-the-dole style Green Army cannot ever be expected to replace the sophisticated and diverse movement that is Landcare today.

“Tasmania’s clean, green and clever brand is underpinned by having an environmentally sustainable image and these Landcare cuts put this at long-term risk.

“There are over 200 hundred groups across Tasmania that depend on small amounts of government funding to support these communities to pursue their practical environmental endeavours.

“Tony Abbott’s Landcare cuts will undoubtedly put the future of these 200 groups at risk. If any Landcare groups shut down because of these cuts it will be a devastating loss for our communities," Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.