The Landcare Story

How did the Landcare movement start?

The name ‘Landcare’ evolved in Victoria through an initiative of Joan Kirner, (then Minister for Conservation, Forests and Lands) and Heather Mitchell, (then President of the Victorian Farmers Federation).

With the generous support of community members, farmers and departmental officers, Heather Mitchell and Joan Kirner were able to launch ‘Landcare’ in a small town in central Victoria in November 1986.

Many Australian communities had already begun practising Landcare decades earlier; accounts from some of our most enduring Landcare groups show grass roots environmental issues being tackled as early as the 1950s. In January 1988 Australia’s first official Dunecare groups formed on the New South Wales Mid North Coast at Hat Head, Diamond Beach, Scotts Head and Diggers Beach.

In 1989 the national Landcare movement officially began with Rick Farley of the National Farmers Federation and Phillip Toyne of the Australian Conservation Foundation, successfully lobbying the Hawke Government to commit itself to the emerging movement. Landcare became a national programme in July 1989 when the Australian Government, with bipartisan support, announced its “Decade of Landcare Plan” and committed $320 million to fund the National Landcare Programme.

What has transpired since is remarkable; Landcare groups have formed all across Australia, and in over 20 countries around the world. The cornerstones of Landcare are being community owned and driven, being bi-partisan in nature, and encouraging integrated management of environmental assets, including productive farmland and a sustainable approach to private land management.

Become part of the story

You can become an invaluable member of the Landcare movement – learn more about how you can get involved.

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