The challenges facing the program include meeting the increasing demand for community and engagement in the NRM space, and trying to accommodate the diverse face of not just the Landcare movement but other community based organisations involved in land management. The advantages for a locally/regionally driven process are apparent for regions equipped with the capacity to deliver on ground priorities beyond participatory targets. There is however a risk that it may fall short of the Australian Government's good intentions in delivering highly strategic outcomes which would see local projects deliver against national targets. The reality is (in the tropics in particular) there are some plain horrible jobs out there to be done like the eradication of pond apple or glush weed which are very rarely touched by community groups because of the technical nature of the task.
Historically, catchment and Landcare groups have worked closely with the technical skills, specialised plant and nurseries of local governments in delivering a diverse range of projects. With this new phase of Landcare and other similar programmatic shifts in resource allocation over the past 10 years the regional experience for local government in this space is one of being slowly squeezed out of the picture in an area of operations where we have had considerable technical expertise and community engagement in the past. Not to mention a legislative responsibility for our own lands as well as an intended education/compliance role within the community. There is certainly some adjusting to do. In the meantime, weeds and feral animals are not on hold and the tough jobs still need doing.