Savage blow to Landcare leaves workers in despair

BUDGET CUTS: West Moreton Landcare president Bob Hampson airs concerns about Federal Government funding cuts.
BUDGET CUTS: West Moreton Landcare president Bob Hampson airs concerns about Federal Government funding cuts. Contributed

A $480 MILLION cut to the Landcare budget by the Federal Government could threaten the work of the West Moreton Landcare group.

The government has said it will channel the funds into The Green Army scheme, where young people will receive an allowance of about half the minimum wage while working on environmental projects for up to six months.

But West Moreton Landcare president Bob Hampson said the funding cuts would adversely impact his group.

"Most of our funding comes from competitive grants," he said.

"The Queensland Government makes a little bit of that available but most of it comes from the Commonwealth Government.

"We always have about two major projects going so, if the amount of funding gets cut back, there will either be fewer programs or more applicants for a smaller bucket of money.

"In either case, it is less likely we are going to be able to be successful in getting grant funding so the amount of activities we do will be reduced.

"There is a grant to assist larger Landcare groups with their administration expense. We only get around $2000 for that, but we have just received notice that has been cut altogether.

"That just makes it more difficult for us to exist.

"The Federal Government says that it has taken money out of the Landcare program to go to the green army program, but that is certainly not a community-based local group where people have passion and take ownership for what they are doing."

Blair MP Shayne Neumann slammed the cuts in a speech to Parliament where he described them as "a tragedy, a shame and a disgrace".

"In my region, West Moreton Landcare will be badly affected by the axing of this funding," he said.

"With its headquarters based in the beautiful town of Tallegalla, West Moreton Landcare was founded by Arnold Rieck 30 years ago and is being run by a band of hardworking, dedicated individuals like Bob Hampson, Beryl Wallace and Margaret Witherspoon, to name just a few.

"This group has done a lot of hard work, including minor restoration for the environment around Rosewood, salinity issues concerning Black Snake Creek in the Marburg region and other work it does for riverbanks and creek beds in and around the rural parts of Ipswich."

Last year the group was awarded almost $40,000 from the former federal Labor Government for improving land-use practices in the Black Snake Creek catchment near Marburg.

Mr Hampson said the group's principal activity was "educating our members and our landholders on better land use management".

Topics:  landcare

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