Landcare in spotlight at Monto

08-Sep-2008

The iconic Landcare movement will not survive unless it is lead by an independent, respected and visionary voice that is heard in industry, government and community.

This is the dire prediction of Tony Gleeson, CEO of the Australian Land Management (ALM) Group speaking at the 2008 Queensland Landcare Conference at Monto, Queensland.

‘Not in our life time have we had such a focus on the health of our lands and all that goes with it yet Landcare is showing signs of senility’ Gleeson told delegates.

Gleeson acknowledges the great Landcare assets of being a relatively young movement, of considerable energy at the grass-roots level, of having a constituency united by similar beliefs and values, of being able to operate nationally across industries, of high brand recognition and of having sufficient flexibility and innovativeness to respond to changing needs.

“We need to better use these assets to further improve land management and there is great potential to do so.

Policies and programs, particularly at the national level, should reflect more adequately the need for land managers to be actively engaged in and held responsible for improving land management, for caring for country”.

Gleeson said that policy and program arrangements are now adding an unnecessary complexity to land management which is inherently complex enough.

“My proposition is simple - we need to enable rewards to flow for improving land management. This cannot happen unless we have a way of recognising good land management and that should be an aim for new Landcare leadership”.

Gleeson noted that Landcare has been very effective in increasing the willingness of land managers to improve their environmental footprint but it has not followed-up with strategies and tools to ensure better performing land managers are recognised, rewarded and hence further motivated.

Whilst clearly concerned about a potential backlash against the Group he represents Gleeson was most critical about the current state of delivery of natural resource management programs.

“The prime outcome of review after review is to heighten planning and transaction costs, to emphasise indicator and target setting divorced from land managers and the realities of land management and to add to the number of organisations and individuals involved in program administration’’.

This is not the way forward according to Gleeson who claims Landcare needs to advocate for the interactive and interdependent nature of ecosystem components, avoiding fragmentation through a naïve application of an eco-services approach, aligning market and other drivers for improving environmental outcomes, cessation of the use of short term funding to address long term issues and of the need for co-investment between individual landholders, government and industry programs, consumers and the community.


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