LVI has contributed to and endorsed the Conservation Stimulus package, as per recent communications, proposed by a consortium of farming and environmental partners, as an exciting opportunity to resource our LVI Member Groups to get works done on ground.
An update on recent developments with the conservation and land management stimulus proposal has been provided below by Pepe Clarke (Deputy Director (Terrestrial), Outback to Oceans, The Pew Charitable Trusts), including three steps that you can take to maintain the momentum on this proposal:
1. Please share this video far and wide on Facebook. When sharing the video, we’d recommend keeping the tone of your post warm, positive and focused on the big idea, rather than a pointed ask to policy makers already under intense pressure. If you would prefer to upload the video directly to your own social media account, please contact LVI so we can provide you with a cross-posting link for your page.
2. Contact members of parliament this week. The consortium is making solid progress with key policy makers (see below), but environment ministers will need support in cabinet and in the party room to secure stimulus funding commitments. If you haven’t already, please (a) email the Stakeholder letter (Appendix 1-1, 1-2) and briefing note to federal and state MPs with a covering note highlighting your support; and (b) follow up with a call to their office. Please let us know if you need any assistance with your outreach to decision makers.
3. Consider pitching the story to media outlets in your region or state. In response to requests from a number of supporting organisations, Pew Trusts has prepared a simple communications plan with key messages to help with outreach to media. Please let us know if you’re planning to pitch the story, so we can work together on the approach to media.
Based on input from supporting organisations and feedback from policy makers, we prepared a more detailed program proposal, which you may have received already, including a spatial analysis of predicted unemployment loss by the Centre for Conservation Geography (Appendix 2) and a summary of capacity self-assessments provided by conservation and land management organisations (Appendix 3). These documents to Google Drive, so you can download the most recent versions when needed.
Thank you to everyone who has been engaging with federal policy makers on this issue over the past few weeks. Importantly, the broader COVID-19 policy discussion at federal level is starting to move towards economic recovery. The Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) has appointed two COVID-19 focal points, who are involved in active cross-agency discussions about responses to the unemployment crisis.
On Friday, Pew Trusts had an opportunity to present the proposal to the Prime Minister’s environment advisor, Minister Ley’s policy director, five senior officials from DAWE and a representative from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Overall, the tone of the discussion was positive and constructive, but non-committal. The PM’s environment advisor said that the proposal was timely, but was careful to manage expectations, noting that there are many economic stimulus proposals before government. Minister Ley’s policy director welcomed the proposal, offered to schedule a time for us to present to the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) and recommended that we focus on targeted investment in regions most impacted by COVID-19 related employment loss. Our key ask for the meeting was a request for the Minister’s office and the department to work collaboratively with us to develop a stimulus proposal for formal consideration as part of the economic recovery planning process. We hope to receive a response to this request later this week.
The proposal has been shared with NCCC Chair Nev Power, who responded warmly and undertook to discuss the proposal with DAWE. Shadow Environment Minister Terri Butler has been briefed and the proposal was mentioned favorably in a speech yesterday by Anthony Albanese.
States and territories
Momentum is building at the state level, with almost every state and territory across the country now actively scoping the potential for conservation and land management stimulus. In NSW and SA, conservation and land management stimulus proposals have been developed and it is expected that these will be considered in the context of broader decisions about economic recovery measures in those states.
In Queensland, WA and the NT, environment departments have started to develop stimulus proposals with the support of their respective ministers. Victoria and the ACT have started to roll out COVID-19 employment stimulus programs (e.g. Working for Victoria), including some environmental jobs, but further work is needed to scale this up and ensure effective delivery.
The consortium has been receiving expressions of interest and support from local councils after AABR took the initiative to circulate the proposal to councils across the country. Local Government NSW have offered their official support and the proposal has been discussed by members of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) board.
There are now more than 100 organisations that have expressed support for the proposal, including conservation, farming and land management organisations and a number of local councils. We really appreciate the way in which supporting partners are stepping up to contribute to the campaign, helping out with lobbying, media and stakeholder outreach and contributing to the design of the program.
Over the past few weeks, Pew Trusts been working to broaden our stakeholder engagement beyond the conservation and land management sector, including influential industry associations, unions and tourism bodies. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) have confirmed their support for the proposal and there have been constructive initial discussions with the BCA, MCA, ACTU and National Tourism Industry Council.
Ernst & Young has been asked to prepare a report on the economic merits of the proposal. Their team has started work on the report (which is due in four weeks) and will be available to brief key policy makers in the interim.
Thank you to everybody who has helped out with media outreach over the past few weeks. Landcare Australia’s opinion piece entitled ‘In rebuilding our nation, let’s not forget the land we build it on’ was picked up by more than 20 regional newspapers, building on previous coverage in the Sydney Morning Herald, ABC NSW Country Hour and ABC RN Breakfast.
Several supporting organisations have sought advice on approaching media, so Pew Trusts have prepared a short communications plan with key messages for media, which you can access here. These messages aren’t intended to be overly prescriptive – when speaking with the media and policy makers, please bring the story to life with your own experience and perspectives.
Many thanks to everybody who has contributed to this initiative. We still have plenty of work ahead of us, but it feels like we’ve come a long way together over the past six weeks.
Please continue to keep us informed of any conversations that you have with decision-makers so that we can feed it into the larger advocacy program.
Please feel free to reach out to LVI if you have any questions, concerns, suggestions or opportunities.