National Landcare Programme funding allocation 2016-17

The National Landcare Programme is a part of the Australian Government’s $2 billion investment over four years in managing natural resources. The program contains a range of funding elements, including national and regional funding streams that will invest $1 billion over four years in projects that address environmental and sustainable agriculture issues.

In 2016-17, the Australian Government will invest nearly $19 million in Local Land Services to deliver environmental and sustainable agriculture outcomes. The Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources asked the Commission to develop a funding allocation profile for 11 Local Land Services regions for the 2016-17 funding period. The work leverages the Commission’s previous advice on funding allocation for Local Land Services under NSW Government’s Catchment Action NSW regional funding.

In collaboration with the Departments and Local Land Services, the Commission identified an overall decision making process, investment principles, strategic investment priorities and the best available information to develop a transparent and evidence-based multi-criteria allocation model. Using the model, the Commission generated a potential funding profile for the eleven Local Land Services regions. The Commission provided further support in examining the results and identifying opportunities to manage any risks as part of the decision making process.

The Commission has now delivered its advice to the Australian Government for its consideration.

Catchment Action NSW funding allocation 2015-2017

Catchment Action NSW is the NSW Government’s regionally-delivered project funding to address state natural resource management priorities. Under the Funding Agreement for Catchment Action NSW, the then Office of Environment and Heritage has agreed that Local Land Services will be responsible for distributing the funds between the 11 Local Land Services regions.

The Local Land Services Board of Chairs asked the Commission to review funding allocation best practice and identify options for the future allocation of funds within Local Land Services. The Commission provided its report to Local Land Services in November 2014.

The Commission recommended an allocation profile based on a framework using multi-criteria analysis. The framework and recommended allocation profile has been developed according to the four investment priorities set out by the Office of Environment and Heritage within the Catchment Action NSW Funding Agreement.

Catchment Action NSW funding allocation 2014-2016

Through a Ministerial request, the NSW Government asked the Commission to review the funding methodology for Catchment Action NSW funding, and recommend how the methodology can be refined and applied to Local Land Services by 30 September 2013 (see Part B of the Ministerial request).

The Commission provided its report in September 2013, recommending that the Minister should adopt the Commission’s recommended funding profile for the pool of $56 million of Catchment Action NSW funding to Local Land Services for 2014-16.

In developing its advice, the Commission consulted with the then CMAs, the Department of Primary Industries, the Office of Environment and Treasury to agree on an approach to this funding allocation process.

The funding profile is still based on the principles that investment should be driven by priorities and effectiveness. The funding allocation methodology has been revised to better reflect stated NSW Government natural resource management priorities, and to make better use of growing spatial expertise within agencies and state-wide priority mapping for natural resource management.

State-wide priority soil mapping

During the review, the Commission found there was no state-wide priority mapping for soils and land management more broadly. Historical investment for this type of knowledge has been traditionally low in NSW compared to other natural resource management issues, such as vegetation and water. As such, the Commission commissioned the University of New England to identify and map potential areas in the state that are under greatest level of reaching irreversible damage to soil condition.

The University of New England applied a resilience based approach to its analysis and developed a first approximation map for investment in soil health across NSW. The Commission used this information to help develop its funding profile for Local Land Services.

Previous reports to Government