It was a great honour for me to attend the 2017 Victorian Landcare Awards ceremony at Government House on 1 September, along with so many outstanding Landcarers from across the state.
The awards were hosted by the Governor, Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, and celebrated the incredible efforts and valuable contributions of individuals, Landcare community groups, Friends groups, Coastcare groups, schools and organisations – all those who are working to protect and enhance the natural environment and improve sustainable agriculture.
Environmental volunteers, such as Landcarers, are some of the most inspiring and important people in our communities; promoting health and well-being by connecting with nature, while restoring and protecting Victoria’s precious landscapes and natural assets.
You will get a great sense of their remarkable dedication, resilience, commitment and creativity as you read the stories on the winners in this feature edition of the Victorian Landcare and Catchment Management magazine.
It is wonderful to see how the Landcare ethic has expanded to our urban areas and cities, reinforcing the connection between the built and natural environment to our health and well-being as well as the quality of our lives.
Liveable places support healthy, happy people. Sustainable, liveable cities provide confidence for businesses to invest and economies to grow.
That is why this year we introduced the Urban Landcare Award in recognition of those who are encouraging people in urban areas to improve their local environment. The winner of the Urban Landcare Award, Blackburn and District Tree Preservation Society, is one of Victoria’s oldest environment groups – established in 1959.
In many ways, the success of environmental volunteering has inspired the Victorian Government’s plan for Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037. The Plan aims to encourage more Victorians to value and protect nature and help them to connect with and enjoy the natural environment; including the importance of connecting to Country – which Traditional Owners have long known and practised.
On behalf of the Andrews Labor Government, I thank and congratulate all award nominees in their respective categories and wish the winners of the nine national award categories well, as they go on to represent Victoria at the 2018 National Landcare Awards.
I also acknowledge the time, commitment and dedication of every single person acting to care for Victoria’s natural environment, so that it is healthy for current and future generations.
Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change
Minister for Suburban Development