Farmer fears for Landcare's future

A NORTH-EAST farmer and natural resource supporter wants the federal government to rethink environmental spending, as he says the future of Landcare could be at stake.

Ian Sauer grazes sheep and cattle at his Pipers Brook property and has been involved in natural resource management, policy formulation, project development, management, and community development for 30 years.

Mr Sauer said yesterday that Landcare, the land improvement program set up by Labor in the 1980s, had been hugely successful but was under threat from last month's federal budget.

He said almost $500 million was due to be transferred from Landcare to other environmental programs, including the Green Army that will be active in Launceston.

But he said the cuts were made worse through a lack of consultation with farmers and other land owners.

He said many other farmers supported his position that the government would be better off to talk to the volunteers who did the work to develop a new delivery system that did the work at a lower cost.

Bass Liberal MHR Andrew Nikolic has defended last month's  budget, saying that the new programs would be effective, including in Bass, and that the final look of Landcare was still being decided.

He said the budget provided $2 billion to manage natural resources, including improvement projects from  Kings Bridge to Duck Reach and Kings Bridge to the Tailrace.

``We are also refocusing the funding for managing our natural resources to give Landcare greater access to funds and a key role in determining local priorities,'' Mr Nikolic said.

``We have a great respect for Landcare and look forward to working with them and their hard working members.''

Ian Sauer on his Pipers Brook property, Farley. Mr Sauer is concerned that Landcare may become a casualty of the federal budget. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

Ian Sauer on his Pipers Brook property, Farley. Mr Sauer is concerned that Landcare may become a casualty of the federal budget. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

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