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Riverina Landcare Strategic Plan progress

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Consultation with landholders, community members and groups across the Riverina in May-June has revealed a strong commitment to a collaborative future of landcare for the region. Over 50 people took part in focus groups in Hay, Leeton, Murrumburrah, Adelong, Humula, Henty and Wagga Wagga. Almost 20 have participated in one on one interviews and a further 111 in an online survey.
A key theme to emerge is the importance of working together collectively at a “grassroots” level.
Chair of Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc, Mr Michael Gooden, said, “the focus groups were a success and highlighted the interest and commitment of people across the region for sustainable natural resource management”.
The focus groups are part of a project instigated by the Regional Landcare Facilitator’s Program and hosted by Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc. The aims of the project are to:
  • Engage the community about landcare and hear their views;
  • Identify priorities and guide the work of the Regional Landcare Facilitator’s Program;
  • Clarify the different roles of those involved in landcare across the Riverina;
  • Bring together the diverse landcare groups across the region to see how they might work together to achieve practical environment management in the context of sustainable agriculture in the Riverina.
“An outcome of the project will be the development of the Riverina Landcare Strategic Plan 2023. It will reflect the needs of the Riverina Landcare community and will direct and support future activities across the region” said Mr Gooden.
Management company, RuralScope Pty Limited, was engaged by Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc to facilitate this project. Ms Jo Eady is facilitating the consultation and said “key themes emerging include the need for:
  • A community driven vision and strategy resulting in healthy landscapes and communities across the Riverina;
  • Collaboration of efficient and effective groups and networks;
  • Building and sharing of an information / knowledge base to support sustainable agricultural and lifestyle landscapes;
  • Engagement of individuals, groups and communities with landcare, natural resource management and community development; and
  • Sharing of successes and lessons learned to promote continued learning, effort and participation in landcare”.
The results of the focus groups will now be coupled with those from an online survey of 111 responses.
“Consultation has identified that it is really important for the community to drive future landcare priorities and plans. I enjoy supporting people to share their views and have their say and there has been no shortage of this so far. People told us that it is time to reassess landcare, what it means and collaboratively decide on the future role of landcare”, said Ms Eady.
Right now, further data analysis is taking place to identify agreed goals, look at opportunities and constraints, work up a framework inclusive of all stakeholders and draft a strategic blueprint for landcare activities and resourcing for the Riverina.
The project is overseen by a Steering Committee consisting of the two regional landcare facilitators - Ms Bindi Vanzella, based in Wagga Wagga, and Ms Julie Bellato in Griffith - as well as representatives from Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc, Riverina Local Land Services, Murrumbidgee Irrigators Association, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Charles Sturt University and the NSW Department of Agriculture.
The Strategic Plan for Landcare in the Riverina is expected to be released in August.
For further information, please contact Project Facilitator, Jo Eady on 0419-912-879 and for information about landcare activities, please contact Anne Duncan on 0481-345-166.

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