The Victorian Landcare Program provides services and initiatives to support Landcare in Victoria, with the goal to strengthen and enable groups and networks across the State. Support includes funding on-ground facilitators who empower locals to act for their environment, the Victorian Landcare Grants program and the Victorian Landcare Awards.
There are around 600 Landcare groups and 64 networks in Victoria. To locate or find the contacts for a Landcare group or network near you, go to the Victorian Landcare Gateway website. Here, you will also find news from Landcare groups and networks, including up-coming volunteer activities and events, resources for groups and information on grants and projects.
What is Landcare
Landcare, born in Victoria in 1986, is a highly successful community-based volunteer movement that facilitates and coordinates actions to care for our environment. Landcare is about a simple idea; people organising to come together to discuss shared land management issues, and to design and implement practical solutions to take action to address these issues. People see results and want to be part of it. Landcare is community based leadership in action.
Landcare began when farming neighbours recognised that they could be more effective and have a greater impact if they addressed common natural resource management concerns together.
Since the first Landcare group was formed at Winjallok near St Arnaud in central Victoria, hundreds of Landcare groups have formed across Victoria. Landcare quickly became a national movement and in recent years it has expanded internationally to more than 20 countries.
Landcare has achieved success in nurturing a more sustainable land management ethos and practice. From its perennial roots in production agriculture, Landcare has branched out to encompass environmental citizenship of both public and private land - in the bush, along the coast, as well as in urban and peri-urban areas. Among the wide variety of on-ground activities undertaken by Landcare are: rejuvenation and repair of habitats, restoration of waterways, improvements to farmland, and addressing land management issues such as erosion and pest plants and animals.
Research affirms that the on-ground works undertaken by Landcare lead to improvements in the condition of our natural resources. What's more, these works are accomplished in a very cost effective way in terms of the on-ground actions achieved relative to the amount of public funds invested. This cost effectiveness is attributable to low coordination and administration costs, the provision of volunteer labour, and significant landholder contributions (both cash and in-kind) to projects.
Landcare groups and networks
In Victoria there are now around 600 Landcare groups and 64 Landcare networks, and more than 500 other community-based natural resource management groups. Victoria’s Landcare and other environmental volunteer groups have around 60,000 members and involve an additional 45,000 volunteers who contribute their time and energy each year to help care for our natural resources.
The advantages of working in groups are:
- improved long-term productivity and amenity value of an area
- access to a wider range of technical, financial and other help
- community pride in and ownership of projects
- a sense of achievement
- public recognition of a group's efforts, which may encourage others to take part
Over time, Landcare has become more connected. While Landcare groups continue to operate at the local community scale, a large proportion of the State's groups are now linked to or members of Landcare networks, which operate at a broader or more strategic landscape scale.
Landcare groups and networks develop their own priorities, organise community activities, and source support and funding from entities including federal, state and local governments, catchment management authorities, private businesses, non-profit organisations, and individuals.
Key activities include undertaking on-ground projects, building partnerships, community capacity building and engagement, sharing stories and skills, and celebrating success. Landcare, therefore, is a partnership between production and conservation, with whole communities caring for the land – local councils, conservation groups, schools and interested individual.
Over the decades since its inception, Landcare has become part of the social fabric of Victoria. The public value of Landcare is significant. In addition to the environmental gains, major social and economic benefits are produced for participants and the communities in which they live.
Landcare on public land
About 40 per cent of Victoria is public land such as national parks, forests and reserves that are managed by Government agencies.
While Landcare has traditionally worked on private land, some groups and networks also work collaboratively with public land managers to undertake projects on public land. Where land management issues overlap between public and private land, Landcare provides an opportunity for private and public land managers to work together to tackle these issues.
Victorian Landcare Program
The Victorian Landcare Program is the program of support managed through DELWP, that is provided to Landcare in Victoria. We recognise that supporting Landcare is a valuable investment in Victoria's future, and we are committed to continuing this support. The goal of the Victorian Landcare Program is "shared responsibility for a healthy environment".
An independent review of the Victorian Landcare Program was undertaken in 2015 to ensure the best possible long term arrangements for Victorian Government support for Landcare. The review involved extensive consultation; more than 150 interviews were conducted across Victoria and more than 900 online surveys were completed with community and key stakeholders. This was an important opportunity to hear community views and provided a wealth of ideas to inform future government support for Landcare.
The Victorian Landcare Program Review Action Plan (PDF, 8.6 MB) details the response to the recommendations of the Victorian Landcare Program Review (PDF, 2.1 MB) and the Victorian Local Landcare Facilitator Initiative Evaluation (PDF, 4.2 MB).
The Victorian Landcare Program includes the delivery of the following services and initiatives to support Landcare across the State.
Victorian Landcare Grants
The Victorian Landcare Grants support Landcare and other community-based natural resource management groups to protect and restore the Victorian landscape. The grants are delivered through the State's ten Catchment Management Authorities by funding:
- on-ground works that deliver on local, regional and State priorities
- capacity building activities for land stewardship and on-ground change
- projects that promote innovation through experimental trials and pilot programs
- start-up funding (for new groups & networks) and support grants to ensure a strong Landcare base across the State
- opportunities to promote Landcare and increase membership and volunteer numbers
Landcare support staff
We value the work of Victoria's volunteer-based Landcare groups and networks, and recognise the important support provided to these organisations by professional Landcare staff such as Landcare facilitators and coordinators.
Through the Victorian Landcare Program the department funds ten Regional Landcare Coordinator positions which are based in Catchment Management Authorities, and a statewide Aboriginal Landcare Facilitator position.
The Victorian Landcare Facilitator Program funds 78 part-time Landcare facilitators who are employed directly by groups and networks.
The Landcare facilitator’s role is to enable the effective participation of Landcare groups and networks, landholders and the wider community in natural resource management activities that protect, enhance and restore our natural environment, and improve agricultural productivity.
The Landcare facilitators also have a strong focus on building group and network capacity, rather than dependency, to enable groups and networks to become self-supporting.
Victorian Landcare and Catchment Management Magazine
The Victorian Landcare and Catchment Management magazine was first published in 1996.
The magazine is published three times a year and the stories it features are primarily contributed by community Landcarers. The magazine is available in both hard copy or electronically (as pdfs) via the Victorian Landcare Gateway. Each story is also published as web page on the Gateway.
For the latest issue and back issues of the Victorian Landcare and Catchment Management magazine visit https://www.landcarevic.org.au/landcare-magazine/
To receive an email alert when the Victorian Landcare and Catchment Management magazine is available online send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Victorian Landcare Awards
Every two years the State and Territory Landcare Awards, including the Victorian Landcare Awards, are held to acknowledge the success and achievements of community Landcarers, groups, networks, and organisations who have been working to protect, enhance and restore our environment.
The winners of the nine national award categories go on to represent their State or territory in the National Landcare Awards in the following year.
Visit Victorian Landcare Awards for more information.