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The Victorian Landcare Council (VLC) was established in 2008 to present the interests of community Landcare to State and Federal governments, government agencies, local government and Catchment Management Authorities. VLC objectives and structure
The VLC is governed by its members — landcare groups. Just like local landcare, we’re committed to making landcare a secure, valued part of community life. Community landcare means the grassroots individuals and groups that embrace the ethic of caring for their local environment. It includes all ‘Care’ groups: Landcare, Coastcare, Bushcare, ‘Friends of’ groups and farmers’ groups focused on sustainable production.
These groups speak out on local issues. The VLC speaks out at State level, and through the National Landcare Network we put a strong community view on landcare issues nationally.
The VLC has consistently put a landcare point of view to policy makers. We have made submissions to the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, the National Landcare Framework and its subsequent Action Plan for Landcare, the Caring for Our Country Business Plan Review, Sustainability Victoria’s Strategic Review, the Draft Invasive Species Management Bill, the Victorian Landcare Program Strategic Plan and a review of Victoria’s Native Vegetation Permitted Clearing Regulations.
The VLC represents Landcare interests on the Blackberry Taskforce, the Riparian Advisory Group and the Community Reference Group of the Environmental Protection Authority.
With government funding, we've run an Induction Workshop for the new facilitators, connecting them quickly to Landcare knowledge across the State.
We co-host the State Landcare Forum, most recently in Geelong, to celebrate and share experience of what works in Landcare. We continue to advocate for adequate training and career paths for Landcare staff.
The VLC is a bottom-up organisation. Delegates are at the core of how the VLC achieves its outcomes. Up to 60 delegates make up the Council, with the 10 regions across Victoria selecting six delegates each.
Delegates meet three times a year as full Council to set direction and elect the Committee of Management, which handles the VLC’s day-to-day activities.
Two delegates represent Victoria on the National Landcare Network. Steering groups plan VLC action on issues such as advocacy, partnerships, membership and governance.
However, it is Delegates who think about what landcare is doing to become a stronger force in natural resource management, and what needs to be done next through advocacy and training.
The VLC has backed the Statement of Common Purpose from the National Landcare Network and National Catchment Management Authority Chairs, which affirms how Landcare and CMAs should work together in natural resource management.
We will continue to press the case federally that Landcare is an effective NRM service provider, a key planner of targeted programs for landscapes, and a platform for community recovery from fires and floods.
Closer to home, we have merged with the body representing Landcare staff in Victoria and are seeking a merger with the Farm Tree and Landcare Association (FTLA) to develop a single advocacy group for Victorian Landcare.
We have secured greater access for community Landcare members to events like the annual State Landcare Forum, so that staff and members understand one another better.
In 2008, thirty Landcare volunteers met in Ballarat and committed to creating ‘an independent voice for Landcare volunteers, not controlled or monitored or moderated by any other agency or organisation, connected to grassroots members. Since its inception the VLC has been winning recognition and resourcing for community Landcare.
We make the case for Landcare as a facilitator of community learning and action and as an effective provider of services to government natural resource management programs. Our Patron is Professor Andrew Campbell who has been pivotal in the expansion of landcare across Australia.
We successfully lobbied the Victorian Liberal/National Coalition to fund 68 new Landcare Facilitator positions for its four-year term. These facilitators are making a huge difference to communities. We put the benefits of Landcare to the Victorian Landcare Program, to State level advisory groups and to Ministers. Through the National Landcare Network, we join with other community landcare advocates to influence national policy.
We are now making the case for continuing funding for Landcare facilitators beyond the current four-year term.
Landcare needs an advocate. The Victorian Landcare Council is here to speak with senior managers and politicians, in the government of the day and in opposition, so they understand what Landcare contributes, and commit the funding that supports Landcare activities.
Our challenge is to make sure they don't forget Victorian Landcare's 800 groups, 70 networks and 40,000 members. We're here to make the case that Landcare is essential to communities, and to government.
We're all volunteers, committed to making landcare a secure, valued part of community life and natural resource management.