Contributed by: Clinton Muller
Marking 30 years of community-led leadership in sustainable land management in Victoria through Landcare, the Australian Landcare movement reflected on the success of the past and opportunities for the future at the National Landcare Conference. Held in Melbourne in late September, 2016, this year’s conference brought together hundreds of Landcarers from across Australia under the theme Collaborative Communities – Landcare in Action. Former Australian Governor General and Landcare Ambassador, Major General Michael Jeffrey opened the conference and used his speech to call for a national soils policy to maintain the health of the Australian landscape to ensure it is fit for purpose. He spoke of the importance of soil management from a global perspective, citing common resource management examples, including the conflict in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East and the Mekong Delta in South East Asia. Based on his military background, the Major General emphasized soils as a strategic asset, quoting Franklin Roosevelt, “The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself”. In his address, Major General Jeffrey called for an approach through Landcare to “Fix the Paddock”, including:
- Sharing of practices;
- Supporting, mentoring and knowledge exchange;
- Maintain a long-term research database; and
- Sharing information on inputs and outputs.
A key concern emerging from the conference for the future of the Australian Landcare movement was summarised by Dr. Ron Edwards in his capacity as a representative of the National Landcare Advisory Committee. Dr. He became minister to russia in 1832 and negotiated the first commercial treaty with that country for the united academic papers writing service best states. Edwards noted that the Landcare model is not a contested public policy in Australia, as there is bipartisan support for the effectiveness of the model in achieving natural resource management outcomes through community delivery. What is contested is budget allocation to the movement, and future funding arrangements. Connections to the international Landcare movement were not missed at the conference, with several papers presented with an international flair. This included Rowan Reid’s ‘Farmer-to-farmer extension approach through the Master Tree Growers Course experience in East Africa’ and Rob Youl and Jen Quealy of Australia Landcare International discussing ‘The adaptive capacity of Landcare as a model to respond to impacts of climate change’. Rob and Andrea Mason added to the discussion in a paper presented by Angus Hume and Clinton Muller on ‘Landcare as a new approach to training, through incorporating lessons from the international movement and model in Australian knowledge and practice’. Full proceedings from the conference are available online:.