Tony Abbott – Nature has a longer memory and a sterner set of justice than we all do

Whether people like my style or not – I am confident one thing they will all say about me is I am action oriented.

I love doers. I admire people who can connect other like minded thinkers and take them with them on their journey for the greater good. And I have never met and worked with a movement that does this more effectively than Landcare.

Nature

For me 25 years on Landcare is an internationally recognised social and environmental movement

I have worked with Landcare in urban spaces and in peri urban environments. I have worked with Landcare on lifestyle farms and on commercial farms, with youth and in schools.

Landcare transcends traditional boundaries to do what nobody else in Australian agriculture has ever been able to successfully achieve in great numbers. That is getting farmers to partner and work together and with the community

Landcare is the perfect model and a shining example for agriculture of what a connected cohesive group of people can achieve together

And thanks to the efforts of Landcare we are reminded that we (as farmers) operate in a broader landscape than just our farms

Farmers who work with Landcare think about their properties as part of the broader catchment which has led to incredible environmental achievements.

I also admire the very bright mind that is Andrew Campbell whose  knowledge of all things land and water and his ability to express his thoughts and opinions verbally and on paper is quite possibly unparalleled in this country

This recent paper he wrote ( with Ian Rutherfurd) for the Conversation on the government’s recent budget decisions on Landcare is a great example

Some of the text that resonated with me on the budget

It  also repeats a pattern of reduced funding and weakened delivery started under former Prime Minister John Howard, and confuses improved agricultural productivity with improved environmental management.

Bait-and-switch is a retail trick where you advertise a product at a good price, pull the customers in, and then switch the product at the last moment for an inferior and/or more expensive version. Under the budget, the bait is Landcare, and the switch is the Green Army.

Funding that would have been gone to seasoned community volunteers, multiplying local efforts, will now go to projects done by inexperienced young people on less than the minimum wage.

No doubt many Landcare warriors would appreciate a hand from some willing young workers, but will the soldiers of the Green Army continue to maintain these projects into the future like the Landcarers would? Unlikely. They will bus in, do the project and leave.

Governments need to be careful about white-anting the business models of existing private sector environmental contractors, and disenfranchising passionate volunteers.

Landcare is about building social capital in rural communities and helping communities to promote sustainable land and water management and more effectively tackle common problems that cross farm boundaries.

I filtered all the content I had put in the category under  The Environment on my blog and I am honoured that I have had the opportunity to work closely with the Landcare movement on my farm and beyond and introduce its ethos and philosophies and goals to so many others.

You have been very short sighted Tony Abbott – our landscape is such an integral part of the health,wealth and happiness of every Australian how can you not value it and the people who nurture it so much more than this budget shows

Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life

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