It all started in 1986 at Winjallok, north central Victoria, when a group of local farmers banded together to form the world’s first Landcare group. There are now almost 600 Landcare groups in Victoria and 64 Landcare networks. Landcare has spread across Australia and to more than 20 countries worldwide.
Back then I doubt anyone could have predicted the success that Landcare has achieved in its first 30 years. Thousands of hectares of Victoria’s landscape have been protected, restored and enhanced by committed Landcarers working together in their local areas.
In this 30 Years of Landcare edition of the magazine some of Victoria’s Landcare ‘sages’ share their impressions of Landcare over the years and consider what the future holds. I’d like to thank Peter Forster, Lyn Coulston, Alice Knight and Andrew McArthur for being part of this special issue. We also hear from some of Landcare’s younger members as to how the movement keeps growing.
This edition features contributions from some of Victoria’s longest running groups and projects including the Powlett River Project, the Warrenbayne Boho Landcare Group, the Woady Yaloak Catchment Project and the Kowree Farm Tree Group. We look at how these groups and projects have sustained themselves over the years and how they’ve evolved.
Speaking of evolution, this 30th anniversary prompts us to consider how Landcare continues to grow with the times and how digital communication tools can help Landcare groups and networks to easily engage, access and share information with each other.
Acting on a key recommendation of the Victorian Landcare Program review we worked with Landcare groups and networks to co-design and deliver a refreshed Victorian Landcare Gateway website, along with a new web-based format for the Victorian Landcare and Catchment Management magazine.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the consultation process – I hope the new website serves as an engaging entry point for people wanting to learn about Landcare and a reliable library of resources for the Landcare community. Go to www.landcarevic.org.au
We welcome many international and interstate visitors this month who have gathered in Melbourne to share their Landcare experiences at the 2016 National Landcare Conference and National Landcare Awards.
As we congratulate the winners in their respective categories at the Awards, I’d like to take a moment to recognise the important work undertaken by all of the groups and networks that give their time to care for Victoria’s land, water and biodiversity.
Their dedication, enthusiasm and hard work is inspiring, and they too should be celebrated.
Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change