Nature restoration charity Landcare will have its funding doubled under a future NSW Labor government to address what the party says is more than a decade of decline.
The opposition has committed to more than doubling 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 are 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 told AAP.
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 Landcare, Bushcare, Rivercare and Dunecare.
The funding, which only comes into effect if Labor wins the March 25 state election, will 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 can’t afford to lose the essential work Landcare does in building community partnerships while restoring soil and water, and defending against invasive species,” Labor regional spokesman Mick Veitch told AAP.
Labor on Friday also announced a $6.5 million partnership with soccer club Western Sydney Wanderers, to boost after-school care funding in Sydney’s west.
The NSW Greens on Friday announced a plan to regulate online gambling at a state and federal level to reduce the social harm caused by gambling.
It involves banning all gambling advertising including TV, radio and online advertising, banning political donations from the gambling industry and establishing a national independent gambling regulator.
“This plan will prohibit gambling advertising anywhere, anytime, in the same way as tobacco advertising was banned years ago,” NSW upper house Greens MP Cate Faehrmann said.
Meanwhile, the NSW Nationals were on Friday mourning the death of outgoing Myall Lakes MP Stephen Bromhead, who died on Thursday from cancer.
He previously announced his retirement ahead of the election after 12 years in state parliament.
Nationals leader Paul Toole said Mr Bromhead was a “shining example” of an MP who fought passionately for his community.
During his time in parliament, Mr Bromhead served as the Nationals whip, parliamentary secretary for regional transport and roads, and parliamentary secretary for regional housing.
The seat of Myall Lakes has been held by the Nationals since it was created in 1988.
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