Labor plants seed for growth in NSW Landcare funding
Nature restoration charity Landcare will have its funding doubled if NSW Labor wins government to address what the party says is more than a decade of decline.
The opposition has committed to more than double funding for Landcare to $59 million across the next four years, allowing the organisation to expand and continue its work rehabilitating the state's natural environment.
Following unprecedented flooding and bushfires and escalating land clearing, ecosystems in NSW were suffering, Labor environment spokeswoman Penny Sharpe told AAP.
"Landcare is one of the best ways to restore nature that we desperately need in NSW after more than a decade of environmental decline," she said.
"Local Landcare groups are the backbone of their communities. This funding will ensure these groups can grow and thrive into the future while making sure local environments are supported too."
Landcare's previous funding round of $24 million, granted by the Berejiklian government in 2019, is due to expire at the end of June, Landcare CEO Turlough Guerin said.
Established 34 years ago, the not-for-profit body looks after bush care management for nearly two-thirds of NSW.
"The NSW government relies on Landcare to deliver many of its natural resource management services," Mr Guerin said.
"We're a trusted partner."
The funds will allow the organisation to support 84 full-time coordinators, mostly in regional areas, to work with Landcare's 60,000 volunteers and 3000 local groups, including Bushcare, Rivercare and Dunecare.
The funding, which only comes into effect if Labor wins the March 25 state election, would also allow Landcare to employ 13 full-time Indigenous Landcare officers.
Labor believes the investment will generate a return of $218 million, creating $3.70 for every dollar spent.
"We're thrilled with their model," Labor Leader Chris Minns said on Friday.
"(Landcare) really leverage local community groups and are able to do what perhaps government can't, and that is inspire, engage and have a disciplined volunteer workforce that does major work in the local community."