On 26 June 2014 the Senate referred the matter of the National Landcare Program’s performance, effectiveness and future to the Environment and Communications References Committee (the committee) for inquiry and report.
The history, effectiveness, performance and future of the National Landcare Program, including:
- the establishment and performance of the Natural Heritage Trust;
- the establishment and performance of the Caring for Our Country program;
- the outcomes to date and for the forward estimates period of Caring for Our Country;
- the implications of the 2014–15 budget for land care programs, in particular, on contracts, scope, structure, outcomes of programs and long-term impact on natural resource management;
- the Government's policy rationale in relation to changes to land care programs;
- analysis of national, state and regional funding priorities for land care programs;
- how the Department of the Environment and the Department of Agriculture have, and can, work together to deliver a seamless land care program;
- the role of natural resource management bodies in past and future planning, delivery, reporting and outcomes; and
- any other related matters.
The National Landcare Program is a key part of the Australian Government’s long‑standing commitment to natural resource management. With an initial investment of $1 billion over 4 years (2014-15 to 2017-18), the National Landcare Program Phase One delivered on-ground biodiversity and sustainable agriculture outcomes to benefit the Australian community and environment.
The Australian Government invested a further $1.1 billion to deliver the National Landcare Program Phase Two (2018-19 to 2022-23), creating opportunities for greater efficiencies across the natural resource management sector by working in partnership with governments, industry, Indigenous and local communities and individuals to protect and conserve Australia’s water, soil, plants, animals and ecosystems, as well as support the productive and sustainable use of these valuable resources.
The Australian Government has considered the fifteen recommendations in the committee’s report tabled 25 March 2015 and has provided the responses below, taking account of the National Landcare Program delivery since 2014.