KPMG Partnership in action, hands-on, making a positive sustainable impact

Over 350 KPMG staff swapped pinstripes and laptops for gum boots and gardening gear for exciting opportunities to be landcarers for the day.  As part of KPMG’s commitment to community impact their staff mobilized across Australia, united in fostering resilient and sustainable communities by volunteering with Landcare groups.

KPMG volunteers certainly rose to the challenge and made a positive impact by helping repair and restore their local environment in 14 locations across Australia. From coasts and dunes to farmland on city fringes, urban bushland pockets, rivers and creeks, and even a man-made island! The teams enthusiastically rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in.

Volunteers learnt about First Nations culture, tended to bush food gardens, propagated native plants from seed and planted native seedlings. They also removed invasive weeds from urban bushland and parks, cleaned litter from waterways and coastlines. The team analysed data, monitored water quality in urban creeks, and removed tree guards and wire from agricultural properties.

Landcare Australia and KPMG could not have pulled off such an amazing cross section of environmental experiences for their staff without the help of the Landcare groups that hosted our friends at KPMG. To find out what each of the groups got up throughout the week, read on…

 

Tuesday (16th April)

Greater Sydney Landcare (GSL) welcomed 27 volunteers who came to plant 600 native trees and shrubs on a site in Macquarie Park within the City of Ryde.

Led by Creating Canopies Project Manager Danielle Packer and Project Officer Laura Parent, the KPMG team planted 600 native trees and shrubs including Eucalypts (gum trees), Allocasuarinas (she-oaks), Banksias, Acacias (wattles) and other native plants suited to this area.

The sunny day provided a lovely atmosphere as the group worked hard to transform the landscape. In the future it will provide a greener and more vibrant space for wildlife and the local community.

The trees and shrubs selected will grow to 3 metres and above, to provide shade and cooling via evapotranspiration, and help to reduce urban heat in the future.  The volunteers put out the fertiliser, the plants, planted them in the soil, and then watered them.

Danielle Packer said, “It was a sunny day, and the volunteers planted the trees very well”.

Friends of Maribyrnong

Friends of Maribyrnong in Western Melbourne put a team of 19 volunteers to work.  The team was tasked with mulching, weeding and guard removal in planting areas between a wetland and the Maribyrnong River. Friends of the Maribyrnong Valley was formed to preserve, protect and enhance the Maribyrnong River and its Valley Parklands.   The aim is to create a bushland that will act as a wildlife corridor between Footscray Park and Pipemakers Park.

“It was great to get a group of young and enthusiastic people to move large amounts of mulch around” said Maelor Himbury.

 

Wednesday (17th April)

Indigigrow hosted two KPMG groups at their amazing La Perouse Nursery.  Working closely with the IndigiGrow team, volunteers potted over 2000 native bush food plants and flowering natives such as Eremophila’s, Native Thyme, Variety of Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub species and Finger Limes, set for wholesale distribution.

In addition to potting, they also took on some weeding tasks. Their commitment and effort spared our IndigiGrow team countless hours of work. We deeply appreciate their support and partnership.

“KPMG’s crew were full of energy, jumping in to help alongside our IndigiGrow team. Together, they potted up over 2000 plants, saving our team loads of time and effort. It was a great day had by all” Jay Cook, Wholesale Nursery Manager

Bushlink, from Brookvale in NSW hosted a small team at Long Reef.  They were tasked with helping with the restoration of the wildlife corridor the Long Reef site, weeding and planting new native plants. The KPMG volunteers worked alongside supported employees to help with the planting and weeding which is pivotal in protecting and maintaining the ecosystem and biodiversity at Long Reef.

Abi Byrne said “The KPMG team were great, we were able to clear man invasive species then plant so many native tubestock with their help – Abi Byrne, Assistant Manager, Bushlink.

 

Thursday (18th April)

Mullaloo Beach Community Group selected a section of coastal reserve (Bush Forever 325) which is located on the southern side of public parkland at Mullaloo Surf Club. The 9 volunteers focused on the removing coastal invasive weed species – mainly Sea Spinach and Dune Onion weed.  This was excellent preparation work as there is an upcoming community Coastcare event in the pipeline to plant local provenance seedlings.

“Thank you again for such a fantastic day yesterday at Mullaloo Beach, we had a great time, and it was really rewarding seeing the difference we’d made at the end of the day”.   Cassie Wood, Senior Personal Assistant, ESG Advisory & Assurance at KPMG Australia.

Friends of Kororoit Creek (FOKC) hosted 31 volunteers and kept them busy all day.   The team planted 750 plants, created a massive pile of weeds, mulched a truckload of mulch, laid jute mat around the new frog bog, removed some dangerous branches, picked up litter and watered all the new plants in.  It was a team effort for the FOKC with support from Melbourne Water and Brimbank City Council.

Jessica Gerger, President was delighted “Big wins for the creek today. We couldn’t be happier! We loved working with the hardworking team from KPMG and value their and Landcare Australia’s support greatly.”

Greater Sydney Landcare (GSL) also hosted a group at Boronia Park Reserve in Hunters Hill.  The group got involved bush regeneration and participated in some water quality assessments. The team also cleared a patch of bush from weeds, including smothering vines like Balloon Vine and Morning Glory, along with thorny plants like Blackberry, Asparagus and even young Phoenix Palms.

Thanks to these weed removal efforts, the remnant Eucalypt species in the area worked will benefit from some much-needed breathing space which is important because Boronia Park Reserve has long term goals of increasing diversity and providing enhanced native habitat for native species. The park is being used by Powerful Owls. The volunteers weeded around young native Cheese Trees (called so because their fruits resemble small cheese wheels) that will grow to replace the privets that currently dominate the mid-story on this site. Cheese Trees are a preferred roost tree of Powerful Owls.

“The group from KPMG were great. They loved getting out of the office and worked really well. Giving them the opportunity to assess water quality through chemical and biological indicators gave them a deeper understanding of the ecological processes that the remnant bushland Reserves provide” said Greater Sydney Landcare’s Matt Keighery.

 

Friday (19th April)

17 KPMG volunteers joined Watergum and Sea World Foundation’s TurtleWatch Citizen Science program to help aid nesting turtle habitat at Main Beach on the Gold Coast. The group completed a survey to monitor nesting turtles which stretched from Main Beach to The Spit and back. This survey involved looking for turtle tracks as well as monitoring the condition of the dunes and beach. The group then conducted a beach clean by removing pollution from turtle habitat in the dunes and beaches.

“This group of corporate volunteers were very enthusiastic in helping nesting turtles on the Gold Coast. Together they helped TurtleWatch remove pollution from turtle nesting habitat.” – Caitlin Mandrusiak, Community Engagement Officer Watergum.

Upper River Torrens Landcare Group (URTLG) took 21 volunteers to Cudlee Creek in South Australia, where they removed most of the tree guards from tangled shrubs, dead plants and plants large enough to no longer require protection from kangaroo grazing, across 3 sites that were planted for replacement/ enhanced habitat over the preceding five years since the Cudlee Creek Fire.

They also spent some time pulling out weeds. The extra hands were greatly appreciated by this Landcare group as it takes a lot of time required to untangle wire mesh from grass and seedlings. It was a good time to tackle the task as there is a project taking place to move the wrecked mesh to scrap metal recycling and in the future the group can now reuse intact guards on site/other sites for new plantings.

Stephen Anderson, from URTLG said “After a slightly damp start the group soon warmed up and we had a productive and enjoyable day. The extra hands were greatly appreciated as there is a lot of time required to untangle wire mesh from grass and seedlings”.

Landcare Australia partnerships enable us to service multiple areas of the Landcare community. Our well-recognised Landcare Australia, Junior Landcare and Coastcare brands mean we can develop partnerships that create tangible environmental outcomes as well as business outcomes.

For more information about partnering with Landcare Australia, please contact us on [email protected].

Ferrovial Construction (Australia) fund for Work Health and Safety training means landcare community groups in Queensland are better equipped for the future

Ferrovial Construction (Australia) (FCAU) recently rolled out a bespoke program to allocate specific funding to community groups in Queensland, in order to facilitate the provision of Work Health and Safety (WHS) training activities for staff and volunteers. These activities were targeted to address specific identified needs in the landcare community. Landcare Australia supports efforts to improve biodiversity, build resilient food and farming systems and create stronger communities.  This initiative was a great opportunity to bring together FCAU and local community groups for a common purpose.

Following FCAU’s grant and assessment process, Landcare Australia provided 22 Queensland based community groups with the funding to conduct WHS training activities.

The aim of the training was to improve WHS skills and awareness within the participating community group’s staff and volunteers, and to make sure safety equipment is more readily available. Activities included:

  • providing first aid and remote first aid training;
  • upskilling critical driving skills for rural and remote areas;
  • provision of Agricultural Chemical User Certificates; and
  • purchasing of equipment, including defibrillators.

As a result, volunteers in these community groups are better prepared to address common WHS risks. The volunteers are now accredited in first aid and can safely complete high-risk activities such as handling and storing chemicals, and they can safely access remote areas using off road vehicles.  This will have an immeasurable and on-going benefit to landcare community groups in Queensland.

This funding was a result of an Enforceable Undertaking, issued to FCAU, by the Queensland Government.

Landcare Australia Survey Now Open

In 2024, Landcare Australia and landcare as a national movement celebrates a 35-year anniversary. We have achieved so much over the decades, yet there is still more we need to do together. To strengthen our vision of ‘All Australians actively caring for the land and water that sustains us’, we are creating a strategy to further support the individuals, groups and organsiations involved in landcare.

At Landcare Australia, we are committed to effectively demonstrating our purpose, values, impact, and achievements among our stakeholders. This allows us to foster advocacy, encourage collaboration and cultivate partnerships with individuals and organisations with shared values and vision. Landcare Australia has engaged Canberra based agency CRE8IVE to manage a confidential online survey to gain valuable insights and opinions about Landcare Australia.

We invite you to participate in this survey to provide insights on the awareness and perception of Landcare Australia. These insights will help us understand how Landcare Australia is perceived within the community, guiding our future community engagement.

We greatly appreciate your time and contribution to this important project for our organisation so that we can continue to support the efforts of the landcare movement.

By completing the survey, you’ll also get a chance to enter into the draw for a $1000 environmental grant.

The survey should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

Please click here to start the survey: Start Survey Here.

The survey will remain open until Wednesday 10 April 2024.

Your privacy is our priority. All information is treated strictly confidential. Please find our detailed Privacy Statement here​.

 

Apply for Climate-Smart Agriculture grants to support Aussie farmers

The Australian Government is helping the agriculture sector respond to climate challenges through the $302.1 million Climate-Smart Agriculture Program, funded through the Natural Heritage Trust.

The Climate-Smart Agriculture Program will support Australia’s agriculture sector to drive climate-smart, sustainable growth and protect Australia’s natural capital by funding best practice sustainable agriculture and natural resource management activities that support farmers to respond to the impacts of climate change.

The Program will help drive agricultural productivity, competitiveness, and sustainability by supporting farmers and the agricultural sector to:

  • adopt climate-smart practices that reduce emissions and build resilience to climate change
  • harness carbon and biodiversity incentives and implement industry sustainability frameworks
  • adopt sustainable natural resource management practices that protect natural capital and biodiversity.

The program has multiple investment streams, including $45 million Partnerships & Innovation grants and $9 million Capacity Building grants that are now open.

Partnerships and Innovation grants of between $250,000 and $5 million can be used for a range of activities, from development of climate-smart technologies to improve farm efficiencies, decision support tools and smartphone applications, to new practices for sustainable grazing, cropping systems and pasture management.

Capacity Building grants of between $10,000 and $1 million are available for activities that enable farmers to access the latest climate-smart and sustainable agriculture approaches and inform decisions about their farming operations.

Is your big idea ready to make a big impact on Australian agriculture?  Do you want to build up your community’s capacity to support Aussie farmers to adopt climate-smart and sustainable agriculture practices? Apply today to help secure the future of Australia’s agriculture sector.

Applications for Partnership and Innovation grants close 8 April 2024.

Applications for Capacity Building grants close 28 March 2024.

For more information and to apply, visit agriculture.gov.au/climate-smart

Landcare Australia Response to the AAP Article September 2023

Landcare Australia is referenced in a recent media article and is disappointed in its content. We wish to restate what we do to support landcare.

The unjustified negative comments about Landcare Australia and the work we do to support landcare at all levels not only impacts the good work of our organisation, but potentially reflects poorly on landcare and the on-going great work of the broader landcare volunteer community.

It’s clear that funding arrangements have changed over the last few decades and all involved in landcare, including Landcare Australia, are operating in a more competitive and accountable funding environment. It is of significant concern to see excellent groups such as Hindmarsh Island Landcare group, a previous winner of a National Coastcare award, struggle to secure funding.

Rather than ‘the corporate arm of landcare’, Landcare Australia is an independent not-for-profit organisation with a volunteer skills-based Board, which was created almost 35 years ago to support the landcare movement. Through our long history of developing partnerships and funding arrangements, Landcare Australia has been able to provide a small but important portion of the total funding and services available nationally for landcare groups. Landcare Australia, just like all supporters of landcare, would like to see more funding available and hitting the ground.

We will continue to work hard with our partners and stakeholders to deliver services, funding and projects for landcare just as we have done for decades.

Anyone interested in knowing more about the role of Landcare Australia and how we support landcare is encouraged to review our website and Annual Reports.

Details of Landcare Australia’s responsible financial position, funding and expenditure, including salaries, are available in our Annual Reports and on the ACNC website: Landcare Australia Limited | ACNC.

Landcare Australia secures funding through our partnerships with multiple corporate organisations and other stakeholders that support the services we provide to landcare and on-ground projects.

Over the last four years Landcare Australia has:

  • delivered more than $26M in funding to landcare
  • supported 877 landcare projects
  • supported 4,650 Junior Landcare projects involving more than 300,000 school children.

In the last two years alone, our partner funded landcare projects have involved more than 19,000 volunteers.

That’s a great result for the recipient groups, schools and their local communities.

Landcare Australia works with volunteer groups and organisations on an almost daily basis and we have long been recognised as a trusted delivery partner for supporting landcare. Our efforts to successfully promote landcare achievements and grow support for grassroots groups have been appreciated by most landcare stakeholders since 1989. Groups typically welcome the support, funding and services Landcare Australia provides. Our regular interactions ensure we are well connected to people on the ground.

Landcare Australia acknowledges that we can always do better, but we are unaware of widespread ‘volunteers’ gripes’ nor ‘tensions simmering for years between Landcare Australia and grassroots volunteers’.

However, we do recognise some challenges trying to create a single national organisation with the National Landcare Network (NLN) in recent years. The NLN is a small advocacy organisation responsible for representing the interests of its eight state and territory members. Landcare Australia previously invested significant time and organisational funds over more than three and a half years trying to create a single national organisation with the NLN.

In 2020, after some fundamental issues remained unresolved, we recognised that the time was not right. This was affirmed in June 2023, when representatives of the NLN and Landcare Australia Boards agreed that we would not be attempting to create a single national landcare entity now or in the near future. The unresolved issues related to membership, governance, decision-making processes, cost-effective delivery of funding, and the ability for the new organisation to grow support for landcare. Unfortunately, it seems that some people remain disappointed with this outcome.

The eight members of the NLN are an important part of landcare, and Landcare Australia tries to work with them as much as practicable. As an example, in the successful delivery of the Landcare-led Bushfire Recovery Program Landcare Australia:

  • provided almost $1M to the NLN and five of its members to assist with delivering the program
  • boosted the NLN’s capacity by seconding a key experienced member of Landcare Australia’s management team to the NLN to oversee the program.

We want to make it clear that Landcare Australia does not compete for Australian Government funding with volunteer groups. Instead, we are contracted to deliver specific services on behalf of the Australian Government to support volunteer groups and others involved in landcare. We are appreciative of the government’s commitment and support for landcare. Landcare Australia has a long track record of successfully delivering services including conferences, awards, publications, restoration projects and large programs. We particularly welcome the upcoming opportunity to submit grant proposals for consideration in a competitive Australian Government process to enable continued support of landcare.

Our approach to supporting landcare includes many organisations and individuals around Australia. In addition to landcare networks and groups, our support extends to farming groups, First Nations organisations, individual landholders, youth groups, other environmental community groups, and of course, schools.

Landcare Australia is committed more than ever to continue supporting grassroots landcare volunteers, sustainable management of biodiverse natural areas, restoration of environmental assets, productive agricultural landscapes and community well-being in Australia.