Appendix 5 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 supported the Sustainable Farm Practices component of the Caring for our Country programme. 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 2013–14 appropriations funded under the Act totalled $19.3 million, comprising $17.2 million of administered funds from the Caring for our Country–Landcare appropriation and the balance in departmental funding. Appropriations in 2012–13 were $34.6 million.
Section 11 of the Act established the Natural Resources Management special account and allowed $17.2 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 2013–14 were carried forward in the special account.
In 2013–14, $2.5 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 2013-14, which were outlined in the 2012–13 annual report, funding during the year included:
- more than $21.3 million from the Landcare Appropriation for 31 projects to promote the uptake of new practices and technologies, and other approaches aimed at achieving long-term productivity and protection of natural resources
- continuing support for the national network of Regional Landcare Facilitators to support community Landcare and production groups involved in sustainable farming practices and natural resource management
- $0.88 million to manage work health safety obligations for community group members engaged in practical conservation activities
- $0.44 million to assist OceanWatch become recognised as Australia's 55th natural resource management region.
- $0.28 million to commence implementing the National Wild Dog Action Plan.
The Australian Landcare Council did not meet in 2013–14, as the appointment terms for the majority of council members lapsed during the year. In 2014–15, the department will work to implement the Government's decision to merge the council and the Natural Heritage Trust Advisory Committee to create the National Landcare Advisory Committee. This committee will be responsible for providing advice on agricultural and environmental Landcare issues to the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for the Environment.
Following the resignation of the National Landcare Facilitator in 2014, the Government concluded that other elements of the infrastructure supporting Landcare have matured sufficiently to assume the roles previously performed by the Facilitator.
In 2013–14, the Government committed to provide Landcare Australia Limited with a further $4 million over four years to support activities that raise the profile of Landcare and help Landcare and community-based groups promote their activities and access funding for projects.
The new funding will also support activities that promote the Landcare ethic and recognise and celebrate the achievements of the Landcare community including community service announcements, the Landcare in Focus publication, the national, state and territory Landcare Awards and staging the 2014 National Landcare Conference.