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TAS Country : March 24th 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011 Tasmanian Country 9 News Plug-pull puts Landcare on knees KAROLIN MacGREGOR Margie Jenkin If we can't secure finding to support our core operations, then unfortunately we will no longer be able to operate.' THE Tasmanian Landcare Association is facing financial collapse after the withdrawal of critical State Govern- ment funding over the past two years. The association, which provides sup- port to more than 300 landcare, coast- care and other groups across the state, could be facing insolvency by the end of this year if the Government does not agree to fund its core operating costs. TLCA executive officer Margie Jen- kin said the association had been forced to draw on limited funding reserves during the past two years to survive, but this was not sustainable. ''The situation at the moment is dire,'' she said. ''If we can't secure finding to support our core operations, then unfortunately we will no longer be able to operate.'' The association plays a vital role in securing funding from a variety of government and private sector sources to support on ground works across the state each year. Recently the TLCA received more than $600,000 in funding from the Federal Government and private do- nations. However, all this money is committed for on-ground works and none has been allocated to help cover the association's core funding. Ms Jenkins said every dollar in- vested in Landcare by governments returned between $4 and $6. ''Unfortunately if we are forced to fold we will certainly lose a lot of the momentum we've managed to gain in the Landcare movement since the association was formed in 1994,'' she said. ''It makes sense for the Government to fund this, because there has been such a huge investment by volunteers and landowners right across the state.'' Until 2009, the TLCA received $50,000 annually from the state government's Living Environment program, which helped pay for office, administration, core wages and operating expenses. The TLCA has put together a state budget submission requesting about $165,000 in anual funding -- about $50,000 for operating costs and $20,000 for extension and communication ac- tivities by the association. The TLCA is also requesting $75,000 a year to support groups with adminis- tration and insurance through the Landcare Assistance Program, for which the State Government has pro- vided $50,000 annually for the past 12 years. Ms Jenkins said as well as playing a vital role in on ground works across the state, the TLCA was also an important voice for community based Landcare at a national level. ''If the organisation ends up disap- pearing, the advocacy voice for com- munity landcare will be lessened,'' she said. In Parliament last week Opposition spokesman for primary industries Jeremy Rockliff called on the State Government to work with the TLCA to solve its financial crisis. Mr Rockliff said failure to support the organisation by the State Govern- ment would have disastrous conse- quences for on ground environmental works in rural and regional areas. HOPPER HARVEST: Leigh Atkinson with his ute-based vacuum''. Paddock vac for fishy idea BUG BOUNTY: Leigh is on the lookout for a test paddock. JENNIFER CRAWLEY GRASSHOPPERS will be on the menu for fish farms if one young Tasmanian scientist has his way. Natone man Leigh Atkinson won the 2011 Science and Innovation award for his research into grasshoppers as an alternative farm fish food. Mr Atkinson, 25, is a Huon Aquaculture employee based at Dover in the State's far south. The main ingredient for traditional fishmeal is wild fish like pilchers, he said. He said the small fish are not good for human consumption and sustainablity is in question. ''The way aquaculture is expanding everyone's looking to replace it, there is worldwide research on replacing fish meal,'' Mr Atkinson said. ''They want sustainable products, plants such as lupins and soybeans, which are fine but they are not high protein.'' He is on the lookout for dry grass to catch about 20kg of grasshoppers and has designed a three-metre-wide harvester, that works like a grasshopper vacumn cleaner just for the job. The young scientist has put out the call to Midland farmers to help him out. ''All I need is one decent paddock,'' Mr Atkinson said. Contact Leigh Atkinson on 0428 318 603 if you think you can help. Bream Creek Show pulls record crowd THE Bream Creek Show exceeded all expectations last weekend with up to 8000 people through the gates. Exact figures could not be caculated but overflowing car parks were a good indi- cation of a record crowd, Bream Creek Show Society publicity officer Meg Bignell said. Society president Caroline Bignell said it was great to see increased involvement from young people and she hoped the show could inspire communities every- where to nurture such values. ''There were so many entries in the Hall of Industry from younger members of the community,'' she said. ''And there was heaps of enthusiastic help during set-up and clean-up from the young adults of the district. ''It's all a terrific indication that our old- fashioned values and community spirit are enduring.'' John Bignell took out the coveted prize for largest pumpkin with a 117kg giant. Senior Showgirl was won by Bianca Cathrow, of Copping. Betty Gregson, who brought her knit- ting and crochet exhibits from Horsham, Victoria, won the J. M. Dunbabin trophy for highest points overall. Archie Kingston dominated the veg- etable display and the Dunbabin family shone in the wool tent. Hall of Industry manager Maria Wolley said the large number of entries in the preserves and jams sections reflected today's trends toward old-style cookery and self-sufficiency.
March 17th 2011
March 31st 2011