South West Greens MLC Diane Evers has described the McGowan Government’s plans to increase total funding for the Community Stewardship Grants by $1.5 million as falling short of the commitment needed to support community-based land management groups.
Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) spokesperson for a range of environmental issues including forestry, agriculture and water, said Tuesday’s announcement by the Government would struggle to provide local landcare groups with adequate certainty and stability.
While Ms Evers said she appreciated an increase to the Natural Resource Management (NRM) Community Stewardship Grants Program and described the Government’s plan to direct additional funding towards core landcare and resource management activities as a good step forward, she was concerned the seven Regional NRM bodies could absorb this funding before it could reach community-level organisations where funding was needed.
Ms Evers introduced the Royalties for Regions Amendment Bill 2019 to Western Australian Parliament last year as part of efforts to enhance the state’s environmental legislation and ensure environmental purposes would be reflected in Royalties for Regions spending. The Bill called for the McGowan Government to direct a minimum of 10 per cent of all royalties for regions annual funding for the stewardship of environmental rehabilitation and preservation by dedicated community groups.
The WA NRM Program was established in 2009 and builds community capacity in natural resource management, supports on-ground local community action, leverages volunteer effort and other resources, and maintains goodwill and engagement developed over many years.
QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:
“Tuesday’s announcement by the McGowan Government is a welcome increase to the existing funding of the state’s environmental management, but there is a need to do much more.
“I have been calling for the State Government to redress environmental inequity in the state by ensuring profits from our state’s mining and gas resources are translated into benefits for the community.
“Right now the state’s NRM and Landcare groups are each doing their very best to fill the gaps between government management of the environment in regional communities, but the organisational costs and competing priorities make financial resourcing difficult.
“The increasing environmental degradation and pollution as a result of mining and gas sector activities means the current level of support the Government is providing for environmental rehabilitation is insufficient, with significant potential impacts likely through the loss of valuable ecosystems.
“There has been little emphasis on environmental programs in the application of the Royalties for Regions funding in the past, when such investment is vital for regional communities, especially for the groups that administer environmental programs.
“Allocating a minimum of 10 per cent of all royalties for regions funding on an annual basis for environmental rehabilitation and for the preservation of the State’s unique biodiversity will greatly assist in building regional economies, complement existing carbon sequestration initiatives and aid in the reversal of global warming.
“This Government has taken positive steps forward in environmental conservation, but I intend to push them along for the entire journey and enact significant reform in environmental conservation for the generations to come.”
GET IN TOUCH:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070