North East Downs Landcare Group Inc.

 

Chairman’s Report presented to the Annual Meeting on Wednesday 18th October 2017.

 

I have pleasure in presenting this report on behalf of the North East Downs Landcare Group Inc.

The Management Committee has continued to meet face to face on a regular basis throughout the 12 months, along with additional business conducted electronically as required.

Though Landcare may be facing challenges to stay alive and functional, it is very pleasing to see so many committed Landcarers in the Sub Groups across this North East Downs area, staying involved and contributing to the longer term sustainability of all our rich & diverse natural resources through judicious use and the adoption of contemporary practices & farming systems, our legacy for the future.

There is such a great breadth of interests & activities from Urban, to peri Urban, to all types of agriculture & grazing.

We have experienced highly variable weather patterns this year; however we have the knowledge & skills to manage & respond to the respective conditions. There are good innovative ideas and research data coming forward every year, to help us move into the future.

 

A snapshot of the some of the events and activities for 16/17 include:

 

·         Successfully navigating the first full year of operation since the closure of the NED Office at Oakey in 2016, primarily to more efficiently manage the financial reserves,

·         Continuing partnerships and participation with Condamine Alliance (CA), Qld Murray Darling Committee (QMDC), Darling Downs Regional Landcare (DDRL), Condamine Catchment Management Association (CCMA), Qld Water and Land Carers (QWaLC), Regional Landcare Facilitator Jen Freeman, Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC), industry and other organisations,

·         Involvement with and attendance at DDRL meetings at Millmerran & Allora,

·         Representing Landcare at the Toowoomba Regional Council Bio Security Advisory Committee meetings,  

·         Partnering with Condamine Alliance to roll out the ongoing Holistic Land Management project in the  Gomaren area,

·         Conducting a Weeds Identification Workshop at Peranga in May with support from Condamine Alliance,

·         Convening a Pest Apps Workshop at Quinalow in June with funding and technical input from TRC and QMDC,

·         Commencing the Moola Catchment Planning project with financial and technical support from QMDC,

·         The scheduling by Sub groups of a broad range of workshops and field days across the NED Area, and beyond, eg boxthorn control, pasture management, pig traps, tree planting etc.

·         On the lookout for opportunities to negotiate & submit a range of project applications, whilst acknowledging the highly competitive environment,

·         Compliance with all associated recording, accounting and reporting timelines as required, with our thanks to Glenys and Davida,

·         Sub group Lagoon Creek Landcare voting to disband and cease functioning during the year, with some members electing to join a neighbouring Landcare Group,

·         Maintaining and updating the Website, with our thanks to Vonnie Bridson,

 

Current topics & challenges:

 

·         I did flag last year that perhaps a review of the NED Constitution is a consideration due to the changing nature and operation of Landcare. The Committee has resolved to continue to operate the same as it has for many years and review in the future.

·         The existing NED Plan 2010 > 2015 is overdue for an update. There will be much work to develop a new plan to take us into the future, so how & when we go about that process will involve challenges.

·         The current National Landcare Program is funded until June 2018. The new one has been announced to cover the following 5 > 7 yrs. Some detail has been released over the last 2 weeks. Dependence on full Govt funding is a thing of the past.

·         Maintaining membership and interest in Landcare, to address the changing demographics, and landscape, including newer topics such as bio-security. Succession planning remains a critical point.

·         Maintaining all forms of communication with all members, the young and not so young, in this era of digital technology.

·         Feral pests and an increasing variety of environmental weeds & grasses across the Downs & NED coverage area. It is important to monitor feral pest activity & weed incursions, & talk to your neighbour. All of us have an obligation under the Bio Security Act 2014

·         Soil health & cover, soil erosion, & nutrient management remain critical topics.

 

Other:

·         I encourage you to view the TRC Pest Management Plan & Newsletter on their website.

·         There are new areas of interest such as recognising the presence and distribution of beneficial insects.

·         The need to be alert to any possible incursions by Fire Ants, as we do not want them to be established here.

 

Conclusion:

 

I acknowledge and truly appreciate the ongoing and diligent attention to detail by Glenys with the Secretarial & Project management roles.

As I said 12 months ago, our treasurer Davida Schemioneck stepped into the role with ease and has continued to provide good governance with the management of the finances. We are so thankful for her guidance and advice. Well done Davida. 

Additionally, I sincerely thank Ashley, David, Desley and Cheryl for their commitment, ongoing support and input to the Management Committee. There are very few days throughout the year where we would not be in contact.

I thank the Sub Groups and every one of you for your fellowship, interest and support during 16/17, and encourage you to stay involved with Landcare, and tell anyone who shows interest, that Landcare is still present and active across the Downs.

 

We look forward to the year ahead.

 

Thank you,

 

Graham Cooke,

NED Landcare Group Inc.

 

North East Downs Landcare Public Fund

Heritage Building Society

Account Number: 7485182

BSB: 638-080

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