Appendix 11: Report on the operation of the Natural Resources Management (Financial Assistance) Act 1992
The Natural Resources Management (Financial Assistance) Act 1992 assists the development and implementation of an integrated approach to natural resource management. In particular, it supports the Sustainable Farm Practices component of Caring for our Country. Under subsection 26(1) of the Act, a report must be prepared each year on the operation of the Act and agreements made under it. This is that report.
The 2011–12 appropriations funded under the Act totalled $38.8 million, comprising $36.8 million of administered funds from the Caring for our Country—Landcare appropriation and the balance in departmental funding. Appropriations in 2010–11 were $36.2 million.
Section 11 of the Act established the Natural Resources Management special account and allowed $36.8 million of administered funds to cover agreements made under section 6 of the Act to be paid into the special account. In addition, funds from 2010–11 were carried forward in the special account.
In 2011–12, $0.3 million of appropriation funding was transferred to the Department of the Treasury to enable payments for eradication measures required under the Federal Financial Relations Act 2009.
As well as projects approved in previous financial years for funding in 2011–12, which were outlined in the 2010–11 annual report, achievements during the year included:
- 63 Landcare projects, totalling $17.3 million over two years, funded from the Landcare Appropriation under the Caring for our Country business plan 2011–12
- 220 projects, worth $4 million, funded under the 2011–12 Community Action Grants.
The Australian Landcare Council continues to provide advice to government. The council works collaboratively with the community, farmers, Indigenous land managers and regional and urban groups to help develop sustainable natural resource management solutions.
The government has continued its four-year, $33.6 million commitment (from 2009–10 to 2012–13) to regional Landcare facilitator positions in each of the 56 natural resource management regions. Facilitators are linking and supporting community Landcare and production groups involved in sustainable farming practices and on- and off-farm natural resource management. These facilitators are also important in communicating the government's Carbon Farming Initiative, providing information to farmers and land managers.
Throughout 2011–12, the government continued to support the Landcare movement to develop and promote the Australian Framework for Landcare. The framework sets out the vision, main features, guiding principles and key elements of the Landcare approach. The Australian Landcare Council drafted an associated framework action plan, Community Call for Action, which it is promoting on behalf of the community to encourage partnerships and participation to progress the key elements:
Opportunities to be involved—all people are inspired to participate.
Effective information and knowledge sharing—mechanisms are available for generating and sharing knowledge and information.
Acknowledging change—the differences Landcarers make are measured and acknowledged.
Links to plans at all levels—the Landcare approach is intrinsic to the big picture of sustainable resource management in national, state, regional and local planning.
Succession planning—the vitality of people involved is maintained into the future by engaging all generations and cultures.
Celebration—the achievements of Landcarers are recognised and celebrated by all Australians, together with the potential of the Landcare approach to meet future environmental challenges.
Professional credentials—individuals, groups, support staff and networks involved in the Landcare approach achieve high standards of governance and professionalism.
The department has helped maintain the resilience of Landcare groups through its support for Landcare Australia Limited. This support has:
- assisted groups to celebrate their achievements through Landcare awards and publications
- facilitated corporate sponsorship of on-ground projects
- promoted recruitment and participation of volunteers through the Landcare Australia website, the national Landcare directory and free-to-air community service advertising.
The department has continued its support for state-based Landcare conferences.