Senator Rice on Landcare


Senator RICE:  The $100 million is additional allocation to  «Landcare»  —that is the case, isn't it?

Ms Jakszewicz : Yes.

Senator RICE:  It is $85 million to support on-the-ground projects through the various  «Landcare»  organisations and $15 million for the Indigenous protected areas. Is that the case?

Ms Jakszewicz : I think it is still under discussion, isn't it?

Mr Thompson : There have been announcements about an amount for Indigenous  «Landcare»  of $15 million.

Senator RICE:  So the $85 million is going to  «Landcare»  . Ms Jakszewicz, have you been in consultation with the various  «Landcare»  communities about the $85 million additional funding? What has the reaction been like?

Ms Jakszewicz : Obviously, any additional funding for  «Landcare»  is going to be greeted positively. As part of our function it is always important that we liaise with our stakeholders, which include the  «Landcare»  communities. Obviously, they are all keen to see what that actually means and are waiting for a more tangible announcement of the details.

Senator RICE:  What have these  «Landcare»  communities been telling you about their priorities of how it should be spent?

Ms Jakszewicz :  «Landcare»  volunteer groups are always looking for funding to support their projects. They are giving up their time, but they do need some funding to assist them along the way. Those projects are so wide ranging, I cannot say—

Senator RICE:  Can you give us some examples?

Ms Jakszewicz : It could be fixing up riparian areas, fencing off areas, tree planting, revegetation, weeding, sustainable ag projects, Coastcare projects which involve dune stabilisation—there are many, many types.

Senator RICE:  Do you have any particular views on the types of projects that will be likely to be priorities that will be funded?

Ms Jakszewicz : If it is involving grants going out to groups, I would expect there to be some sort of grant criteria established. I could not comment on what those are and who would set that up.

Senator RICE:  Has  «Landcare»  Australia been working with the Indigenous communities as well and their relationship between the $85 million for  «Landcare»  and the $15 million extra for Indigenous programs?

Ms Jakszewicz : Our current engagement with the Indigenous community is I would say modest. It has involved things like being involved in some projects, where we have funding to allocate to those—and that is corporate funding, not government funding—and also running things like Indigenous  «Landcare»  awards, and we profile their work.

Senator RICE:  Overall, how big a boost to your funding is this extra $85 million?

Ms Jakszewicz : Given that the announced funding is $1 billion over five years, plus the $100 million, I think the $100 million is a great addition, and it is significant.

Senator RICE:  Terrific. Good. Thank you.