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Australian Landcare Council "on hold"

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I received a phone call from ALC Chair, Bobbie Brazil, yesterday. She followed it up with an email last night:

"As some of you knew I had an appointment to meet with Minister Bourke last Wednesday (19th). During our discussion he indicated that while he was conducting a review of all advisory committees in the NRM area, he would wish the ALC to cease any further action pending the outcomes of that review.

At the least then, we shall cancel any further arrangement for our scheduled May meeting in Tasmania and await further advice regarding other activities especially work to complete the Compendium of Landcare Achievement publication.

Minister Bourke was however very supportive of the work of Landcare and its people and praised its achievements. As we understand better any other aspects of this "hold" on any ALC actions I will ensure you are advised."

The ALC, a reasonably functional conduit from the community to the Ministers, it seems, may be lost.

This is on top of discussions at the Catchment and Landcare Association last week, which indicated that the situation for Landcare is more precarious, not less. It appears that there is no longer a requirement for States to make a dollar for dollar or in-kind contribution; the promise of Regional Body funding to 60% of previous levels by the Commonwealth, means that the CMAs have only 30% of their funding guaranteed. Their viability will depend on State and Territory support. It seems that there may be greater emphasis on competitive bids by "other" organisations such as Greening Australia and WWF in particular on "iconic" projects .

This is at odds with a previous commitment not to reduce environmental funding; but election commitments to iconic projects such as the Great Barrier Reef has whittled away support for the Regional Bodies.

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Dr. Radut Consulting