JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud has tonight announced Mr Andrew Stewart this year’s winner of the Bob Hawke Landcare Award.
Mr Stewart, a fourth-generation farmer, has delivered outstanding results on his grazing and agroforestry property in Victoria’s Otway Ranges.
“I am very pleased to select Mr Stewart as the winner of this award from an inspiring group of candidates,” Minister Littleproud said.
“His commitment to delivering the Yan Yan Gurt Creek Catchment community revegetation program, which has restored nearly 18km of creek frontage and formed a wildlife corridor to connect several farms across the district, has been impressive.
“This is in addition to his work bringing more than 5,000 people to his farm to show what is possible and educate them about sustainable land management practices.
“It is this combination of on-ground results and ability to bring the community together that truly demonstrates the Landcare ethos and makes Mr Stewart a worthy winner of this important award.
“It is also important to recognise our finalists – Mr Justin Kirby and Mr James Walker – who are both delivering outstanding contributions to farming and their respective communities. All of our finalists showcase the true depth, dedication, and knowledge of the Landcare movement.
“These are the people who are defining the future of effective natural resource management across Australia’s natural environment, our farms and our communities. Their achievements are something that every Australian should be proud of.”
Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley congratulated all Award winners and nominees, and said the awards highlighted the important role that Landcare plays in protecting our environment and biodiversity.
“Landcare is at the front line of caring for our environment in a very hands-on way,” Minister Ley said.
“It is playing a key role in our $200 million bushfire response for native species and habitat.
“As someone whose involvement with my local Landcare group stretches back over 20 years, I have seen the inspiration that comes from recognising the achievements of those who are nominated for Awards.”
NSW Nationals Senator Perin Davey, who co-chairs the Parliamentary Friends of Landcare, congratulates Mr Stewart on winning the Bob Hawke Landcare Award for his innovative approach to incorporating agriculture and forestry in his farming business.
“Our farmers, like Mr Stewart, are not only leading the way when it comes to agroforestry but play such an important role in educating thousands of people about sustainable land management practises,” Senator Davey said.
“The National Landcare Awards are a great platform to acknowledge and reward individuals and communities across regional and urban Australia who play a pivotal role in sustainable agricultural practises and conservation.”
Senator Davey also had the privilege to announce tonight’s winner of the Australian Government for Partnerships Landcare Award, which was won by Floating Landcare in New South Wales.
Other Australian Government awards presented at tonight’s virtual awards event, including:
• Australian Government Landcare Farming Award – Justin and Lorroi Kirkby, Amarula Dorpers, NSW. The Kirkby’s project focusses on the regeneration and biology of the soil, healthy plants, and increasing groundcover to effectively use available rainfall. The couple employs a combination of sustainable agriculture methods to maintain output including non-inversion deep tillage on scalded areas, and sub-tropical grasses and legumes.
• Australian Government Individual Landcarer Award – Basil Schur, WA. Mr Schur has been a community Landcare leader for more than 30 years, establishing the Denmark Wetland Centre for community education, running regular citizen science workshops and playing a key role in the rise in numbers of various native fauna – including bandicoots.
• Australian Government Innovation in Agriculture Land Management Award – Michael Nicols, Redbank Farm, TAS. Mixed crop and vegetable farmer Mr Nicols employs state-of-the-art agricultural practices including grid soil sampling, satellite NDVI imagery (Normalised Difference Vegetation Index) and yield mapping to ensure maximum sustainable output and soil regeneration.
• Australian Government Partnerships for Landcare Award – Floating Landcare, NSW. Floating Landcare provides community volunteers with a unique wilderness land management experience. The program has attracted a large number of new and existing environmental volunteers, as well as corporate support. Volunteers are from a range of bushcare and landcare groups across the Greater Sydney Region.
“All Landcarers should be incredibly proud of the impact they have made in protecting the natural resources in their communities during these testing times,” Minister Littleproud said.
“I congratulate all award winners and thank them, not only for their contribution to Landcare, but for their inspirational leadership.”
• Held since Landcare’s inception in 1989, the National Landcare Awards acknowledge and celebrate local Landcare achievements at state and territory and national levels, across Australia.
• The Bob Hawke Landcare Award acknowledges the role that former Prime Minister, the Hon. Bob Hawke AC, played in elevating Landcare from a grass-roots community initiative to a national movement with bi-partisan support that endures today.
• Finalists for the Bob Hawke Landcare Award also included Mr Justin Kirkby (NSW) and Mr James Walker (Qld).
o Mr Kirkby, a member of the Northern Slopes Landcare Group and Gwymac Landcare Group, as well as being a member of a farming group ‘The Green Triangle’, is focused on increasing soil health.
o Mr Walker owns and operates a 20,000-acre organic, global animal partnership (GAP) accredited cattle station at Longreach. James created the Agrihive Farmecco digital platform to help other farmers understand and implement sustainable Landcare goals.
• Landcare Australia supports 6000 Landcare groups and over 100,000 volunteers across Australia caring for the land.
• The Australian Government has invested over $1 billion in Landcare under phase two of the National Landcare Program.