Parliament recognises work of Landcare groups
Local Landcare groups were recognised in Parliament yesterday, as Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton supported a motion put forward by fellow Nationals colleague the Member for Gippsland Darren Chester calling on the House to celebrate the extraordinary work of Landcare volunteers.
With National Landcare Week last week, Mr Coulton said there was no more appropriate time than to acknowledge the efforts of Landcare organisations and the crucial environmental work they do throughout Australia.
“Landcare groups across Australia, especially the ones in the electorate of Parkes, are the real environmentalists in this country. They are the people who get their hands in the dirt. They put their own money, their own investment and their own time to work together to improve the overall environmental health of the environments in which they live,” Mr Coulton said.
“The environment of Western New South Wales is in a healthier, more sustainable position than it was 40 or 50 years ago. The people in the Parkes electorate have done a wonderful job in caring for the environment in which they live.”
Mr Coulton said there were many Landcare groups in the Parkes Electorate and that they played a very important role in creating and managing sustainable local environments.
“The Central West Catchment Management Authority covers an area of approximately 83,000 square kilometres and includes a number of individual Landcare groups.”
“The Little River Landcare Group is probably the most famous of those—they are very well known for the innovative way in which they have undertaken natural resource management across their region.”
“Another of my Landcare groups is the Buckwaroon Catchment Landcare Group in the Cobar region. They have come up with a very innovative model for which they are now trying to get funding. This model works in conjunction with the property management under the property vegetation plans where, under strict guidelines, the farmers clear the understorey, the woody reeds and the regrowth across their properties, leaving just the larger trees and restoring what is basically a woody wasteland into a productive and healthy environment.”
“One of the problems with this was that the vegetation that was removed was just burned, with no real benefit to anyone. They have a proposal to use this biomass—and the tonnage is significant—to generate electricity in small, individual, freestanding generation plants. Here this waste is chipped and fed into the plant using a system of pyrolysis to generate heat and electricity.”
“This would be ideal to work in conjunction with the mining activities that are happening in the far west of New South Wales where they are a long way from the grid and might be on the end of a delivery line—this model would deliver quite a substantial amount of electricity onsite. It would have not only economic benefits but also the environmental benefit of using that biomass that comes from regenerating the grasslands in that western region.”
Mr Coulton said Landcare projects in the Parkes electorate were vital and called on more funding to ensure important projects to help landholders and land managers deal with serious environmental issues can continue.