Environmental funding commitments praised

After years of enduring budget cuts, Clarence Landcare was relieved that both major parties have made funding commitments for the organisation.

The Labor party announced a $32.5 million dollar commitment to fund Landcare groups around the state after the Liberal party had committed to ongoing funding of the Local Landcare Coordinator Initiative to the tune of $22.4 million dollars.

Local Landcare coordinator for Clarence Landcare, Debbie Repschlager, welcomed the announcements and said any increase in funding should help fund full time hours at the organisation.

"Everyone is really happy that there has been a commitment by both parties. We haven't necessarily had that in the past so its great that there is at a plan for funding.

"When a landholder comes in to the office with an issue I can't necessarily go out an do a site visit, the distances in the Clarence are big and we are only funded for two days a week

"When the position was funded full time we were able to assist landholders more easily and an increase in funding would allow me to do that again."

Labor candidate for the seat of Clarence Valley, Trent Gilbert said that Labor's plan would create more full time positions for the organisation that also facilitates groups like Bushcare and Dunecare.

"The additional funding will not only deliver environmental benefits, but turn part time roles in the regions into full time jobs - boosting capacity, strengthening partnerships and growing skills within the organisation."

The funding of full time coordinators would also enable the organisation to increase projects and organise their teams of volunteers, something that Ms Repschlager said has been harder with a series of cuts to the organisation over the last ten years.

"Full time funding for the coordinator initiative means we have more time to apply for grants and tenders, where much of our funding comes from," she said.

"Every time we have a successful grant we bring more money in to the Clarence Valley and this has flow on effects to the local economy

"It also ensures that we can coordinate volunteers more effectively to serve the community and land holders in the way that we know they need."

Shadow Primary Industries Minister, Mick Veitch was committed to giving Landcare the money that they had been asking for.

"This funding is $10 million more than the Berejikilian Government's offer, doubles the existing capacity of Landcare in NSW, and will put more local and regional coordinators on the ground where they are needed most."



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