Landcare and Local Land Services

Landcare and Local Land Services

Landcare networks and groups in the Southern Rivers region have contributed significantly to natural resource management, sustainable agriculture and community resilience outcomes over the past decade, with the last eight years in partnership with the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority.  The Government support arrangements contributing to this partnership are changing, presenting both challenges and opportunities for Landcare networks in the region.  In 2012, the NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson announced the formation of a new organisation to deliver services to landholders in NSW – Local Land Services.  Local Land Services (LLS) are the new regional service delivery organisations that will replace Catchment Management Authorities, Livestock Health & Pest Authorities and incorporate agricultural advisory services currently provided by Agriculture NSW. LLS will be regionally-based, semi-autonomous, statutory organisations, governed by locally elected and skills-based board members, delivering services for landholders.

The Southern Rivers CMA will combine with DPI agricultural advisory extension staff in July 2013 and form an interim organisation called Southern Rivers CMA-Ag.  The South East Local Land Services will come into operation in January 2014.

Boundaries have now been announced for the South East Local Land Services region, a region that will encompass the existing Southern Rivers region and extend west to include the local government areas of Boorowa, Yass Valley, Upper Lachlan, Goulburn Mulwaree, Cooma Monaro, Queanbeyan, Wingecaribee and Palerang.

Landcare support is a priority of the NSW government.  This has been expressed through the Landcare Business Plan; the Minister’s intent that Landcare will be supported through LLS; and her approval of the Southern Rivers Catchment Action Plan 2023 (CAP 2023).  Effectively supporting Landcare through the transition to LLS is also a key priority of the Southern Rivers CMA Board.  The Board has identified a new service delivery approach for the CMA-Ag period to December 2013. This approach is aimed at building the foundations of a new service delivery model for LLS, one that the new LLS Board can build on.

Supporting Landcare is a key part of the model. The role of the proposed Senior Land Services Officer – Regional Landcare Facilitation and the Land Services Officers – Landcare/Landholders, will be an evolution of the current RLF and CSO roles. This is a key part of the conversation with Landcareover the coming months, which will inform the detail of these roles. The proposed Senior Land Services Officer – Regional Landcare Facilitation position will take the lead on supporting the partnership with SEL at the operational level.  Chris Presland will be taking the lead on supporting the partnership with SEL at the management level and in the interim Peter Pigott will continue to provide support to the SEL partnership.

The next six months will be used to fully understand the needs of our partners, which will inform what services are delivered, how and by whom, in the context of resources available. SEL and DLAs are priority partners, and Peter will be working with Bill Pigott to define these needs, values and priorities. All of this presents significant change for everyone involved in Landcare.  South East Landcare and the Southern Rivers CMA are looking to meet with each District Landcare Association to provide information on known and likely changes to Landcare support in the region and to identify and nurture opportunities to strengthen the vitality and resilience of Landcare networks and how those networks support member groups.  How can we ensure that Landcare networks and groups can function and thrive at the local, district and regional scales?

Focus and intent:

Function of Landcare networks:

The focus of this activity is on the function of Landcare networks (different priorities for each network) and their ability to engage with LLS and to ensure the partnership between Landcare and LLS lives and grows.  This activity will combine a reflection on what has worked well for each network and the value of existing partnership and support arrangements with the latest information on the changes to Landcare support.  These workshops are not the place for a discussion on the wisdom or otherwise of Local Land Services structures and functions.  Using the partnership arrangements in place, this process will start to document the values, needs and priorities of each network.

Landcare capacity building Landcare capacity:

SEL and the DLAs have a track record of supporting one another and building capacity within networks, groups and individuals.  Regardless of changes to the delivery of government Landcare support in the region, Landcare in the region can identify areas where knowledge and skills can be developed to support the identified functions of networks.  There is an opportunity to use the creation of LLS as an opportunity for growth and the development of Landcare.

Represent the Landcare-CMA partnership to a new LLS board:

The new LLS board will be making decisions about Landcare support arrangements.  Documented partnership arrangements and a clear definition of effective landcare support options will be important resources for a new board looking to gain a better understanding of community involvement in NRM and agriculture in the region.  This will seek to articulate the role that Landcare networks can play to support a transition to and the establishment of LLS.

Two-way communication:

As the change process continues to unfold, it is important that the two-way conversation between Landcare and the CMA can continue and that information is circulated to all groups and members with DLAs playing an active role in the two-way communication between the Landcare community and the new LLS.

Desired outcomes:

This activity presents an opportunity to work towards a number of outcomes at the local, district and regional level.

  • Understand the needs and priorities of Landcare at the regional, district and local scale;
  • Landcare networks are informed about LLS developments;
  • An environment conducive for two way communication;
  • Ongoing partnerships and the option to document these through partnership agreements;
  • Networks are ready to respond to LLS and the opportunities to be valued partners; and
  • Identify the role Landcare support officers can play in networks and in maintaining the vitality and resilience of networks.

Landcare and LLS word doc