Australia’s flagship program to protect and conserve the environment will be subject to a new review into its effectiveness as it delivers a five-year $1.1 billion investment.
The federal government is seeking feedback on the National Landcare Program, which helps farmers and land managers care for Australia’s water, soil, plants, animals and ecosystems at a local level.
It is the government’s second review into the program after a 2016 review found it was widely successful but recommended further work to keep its outcomes measurable and reportable.
Agriculture and northern Australia minister David Littleproud and environment minister Sussan Ley have asked interested parties to provide input by October 15, 2021.
“This review provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to tell us what works, what doesn’t and where it can be improved,” Littleproud said in a statement.
He said landcare was part of the government’s plan to help grow the agriculture sector to $100 billion by 2030.
“Stewardship of the land is a key pillar of the Morrison-Joyce Government’s commitment,” Littleproud said.
“Going forward, we want the program to be as effective as possible to ensure our farmers have the right skills and knowledge to drive sustainable agriculture production.”
The Department of the Environment and Energy and Agriculture and Water Resources and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet will conduct the review.
The program is made up of the Natural Heritage Trust, Environmental Stewardship Program, the Natural Resources Management Account and the pest and disease preparedness and response programs.
A terms of reference for the review said the departments would review the program’s outcomes; its effectiveness; the effectiveness and efficiency of management organisations in delivering the program’s outcomes; and approaches to engaging with communities.
In 2018-19, the government adopted a new regional competitive tender model to engage 50 service providers to deliver Regional Land Partnerships nationwide.
Ley said that Landcare brought communities, land managers and Traditional Owners together to make contributions to the environment.
The program has been in Australia for more than three decades but since 2018 has been in the second phase of federal funding worth $1.1 billion.
“As we continue to invest, we want to hear a range of views about the best ways forward,” Ley said.