A model of engaging and promoting community based groups is helping support a resurgence of Landcare activity in the NSW Murray region.
The groups, who share a passion for participation and improvement in a range of production, environmental and community development activities, are part of a collective known as Murray Landcare which is supported by regional landcare facilitator, Edwina Hayes.
Murray Landcare is a collective of more than 60 Landcare, producer, environmental, wildlife, industry and farming systems groups along the NSW Murray. Participation is voluntary and varies from a set of core groups, who actively participate in regular meetings to share, plan and co-ordinate activity across the region, to less active groups who still benefit from sharing information and contribute to a more powerful regional profile.
Unlike in other regions, where groups are associated with formal network structures, the groups in Murray chose the collective model to make the most of their communal assets with little investment required. There is a huge diversity of group types and governance models but with common goals, Murray Landcare has used co-operation and collaboration to build bigger ideas, prove a high standard of operation and encourage investment in the region.
Edwina says, “Landcare has grown exponentially over the last five years. The number of active groups has grown from 16 to 69, staff numbers increased from eight to 28, which means more members, more projects and more activities.”
The diversity of groups participating in Murray Landcare has been a real strength, with the region being able to focus on a huge range of opportunities to address local needs.
In addition to the participant groups, Edwina says that Murray Landcare receives wonderful support from key partners such as Murray Local Land Services, CSU, local councils, schools, the TAFE Riverina National Environment Centre and other agencies.
“Our partnerships are essential cogs in the engine of improving farming, the environment and lifestyles across the region. It’s through the strength of these partnerships and the embracing of the collective model that we are able to work together to bring more investment into the region to help groups address locally identified issues.”
The success of the partnership was evidenced recently with Murray Landcare and Murray LLS working together on a proposal resulting in six part-time Landcare co-ordinators being allocated.