North East Downs Landcare Group Inc. (NED)

 

Chairman’s Report presented to the Annual Meeting on Wednesday 16th October 2019.

 

What a year of challenges since we were here 12 months ago!! We thought at that time that the dry weather pattern was extreme and there would be better times ahead. Combined with the everyday issues in our lives, our resilience is certainly being tested.    

The Management Committee has continued to meet on a regular basis; however the change earlier this year to a regular joint meeting with the South Myall Management Committee at Peranga has proved to be a more convenient and practical option for the Committee, primarily due to the members respective and ongoing commitments to different levels of Landcare.

 

Funding & projects:

Since my report last year, the Government did announce the new National Landcare Program funding for the 2018 > 2023 period. Therefore, funding for new projects, such as Vegetation management, Erosion control, and Dung beetles, through Southern Queensland Landscapes (SQL) is now hitting the ground.

NED projects for the last year have included, Smart Farm Small Grants, Volunteer Grants, Environmental Grants, Weather Workshops, Feral Pig traps, and Community Sustainability Action Grant. We thank the Federal and State Governments, Toowoomba Regional Council and New Hope for funding these projects.

Across the NED area, there has been a range of activities by the sub groups, with workshops, information sessions, displays, field days, working bees and competitions. I commend all sub groups on their specific activities, as they demonstrate the diversity of our Landcare community, and the diverse landscape. These actions reflect the true meaning of the Landcare logo, ‘caring for our country’. I am reluctant to name specific examples as there have been so many good local projects, and I may overlook worthy projects within the sub groups.

 

Partnerships:

Since our last AGM, the transitioning of staff, projects and administration from Condamine Alliance, Qld Murray Darling Committee and South West NRM to Southern Queensland Landscapes has been successfully completed. A spin off from wind up of the previous Regional bodies has been the distribution of some funds to Landcare groups along with some handouts, small equipment and furniture.

We have ongoing involvement with Condamine Catchment Management Association (CCMA), Qld Water and Land Carers (QWaLC), Toowoomba Regional Council Bio Security Advisory Committee (TRC), industry and other organisations.

The Darling Downs Regional Landcare (DDRL) forum of which NED is a member, has rarely met during the last 12 months. 

 

Compliance and risk management:

On a recommendation from Queensland Water and Landcarers, the Committee undertook a self-evaluation/review (health check) of our processes and procedures, eg risk management from administrative and governance perspective, and on ground activity, including Health and Safety. We firmly believe that we have addressed any deficiencies.

Though it was a challenging exercise, Glenys has successfully updated the NED Business Plan.

Glenys and Davida have also ensured compliance with all associated recording, accounting, project reporting and acquittals as required, including the Australian Charities and Not for Commission (ACNC) with the Public fund.

The other change has been adoption of the Single touch payroll system.

 

Current discussion points:

  • We have not made any recommendations to change and / or update the constitution and strategic plan.
  • ‘Social licence’ is a term that now regularly pops up in farming circles. Challenge or opportunity?
  • NED has a website which is maintained at a cost. It does have a great volume of practical and valued information through books and publications. The feedback from our contractor, Vonnie Bridson, is that it is accessed by many people each month. One possible lower cost option is social media. Will this suffice? 
  • Generally, we have minimal copies remaining of the NED books eg Tree Identification, Birds of the Darling Downs, Lippia Management, and Carbon Farming etc.
  • There are so many good sources of information on the broader web, including the SQL, TRC Pest Management Newsletter, Weed Spotter Network, Birdlife Australia, the Threatened Species site, and others etc.
  • As we have highlighted in the past, succession planning is an ongoing issue.

 

Conclusion:

 

Once again, I acknowledge the unconditional and dedicated approach by Glenys to her Secretarial duties & project identification and co-ordination roles. Linking our needs for new projects to the Government priorities is not an easy task.

Our treasurer Davida Schemioneck has continued to provide good feedback and governance with the management of the finances. Well done Davida. 

Furthermore, I sincerely thank Ashley, David, Desley, Lindsay and Cheryl for your commitment and honest approach to the Management Committee. It is a role that requires a diligent approach at all times.

I thank the Sub Groups and every one of you for your fellowship, support and ongoing commitment to Landcare. We have achieved much in the 30 years of Landcare, so let us keep it happening for our future generations.

 

May the year ahead be kinder to you.

 

Thank you,

 

Graham Cooke,

NED Landcare Group Inc.