The WA State Budget was released on September 7 with some major gaps for landcare. It was immediately apparent that there was a major gap in funding available to metropolitan coast and landcare groups in this budget.
This is largely due to the key components of Landcare and NRM funding coming from the Royalties for Regions pool. The West Australian Landcare Network (WALN) committee and staff members have been working to address this issue and also make sense of the ‘protecting the environment’ items and allocations announced.
WALN has written to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister McTiernan, who leads the State NRM program, seeking urgent clarification on this matter, and a number of urban landcare groups have also been in touch with their local members of parliament on this issue.
We have also compiled a summary from the budget papers and public announcements made by the McGowan Government (see poster here). From this we have identified a range of questions that need answering, and some clarifications required. This has been sent to the state government and representatives from political opposition parties who are also seeking further clarification.
Last Wednesday we had a win in regard to the metropolitan funding gap, with a senior representative from Minister McTiernan’s office responding to let us know they have been made aware of the oversight. We were told $1.6m was currently available in the 17/18 year and were planning to address the shortfalls for 2019 -2021. We have requested a confirmation of this and further information as to how it will be allocated.
WALN would like to thank all the landcare groups and their members who contacted their local MP’s to raise this issue. It shows once again that a strong collective voice for community landcare enables groups to be heard with positive outcomes.
We urge members with further information or concerns about the State Budget to get in touch so we can include any additional concerns in our representations. We will update you as soon as we have further response from the State Government.