27/9/2017

Caring for the land comes naturally to Gympie and South Burnett farmers

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, and Member for Wide Bay, Llew O’Brien, today visited two Landcare champions in the South Burnett and Mary Valley, to see how sustainable agriculture and farm management projects are achieving results on the ground.

Minister Hartsuyker said the Australian Government was committed to supporting Landcare to assist land managers and farmers to sustainably manage the nation’s precious soils, water, vegetation and biodiversity, improving production and productivity in the process.

“Applying well-researched and innovative land and water management techniques and tools on the ground and harnessing local knowledge is delivering practical and tangible environmental and financial benefits to communities and farm businesses,” Minister Hartsuyker said.

“That is why we invested more than $1 billion in Landcare through the 2017 Budget.

“Both the Rockemer family at Boonara, and Stephen Burgess at Dagun, have been involved in their local Landcare groups for long periods of time and both have been deserved winners of Landcare awards.

“The Rockemer family have used grazing and land management techniques that they learned in Landcare supported workshops to turn a rundown lucerne farm into a thriving 1000ha property that runs approximately 1000 head of cattle.

“It is great to see a hardworking family using knowledge gained through Landcare to transform an at-risk farm into a successful business, and going on to win the Burnett Mary Regional Landcare Group’s Outstanding Land Manager award in 2008.

Mr O’Brien said Dean and Tracy Rockemer and Stephen Burgess both know very well the benefits that good Landcare can have on local properties and the environment.

“Both are members of our community who are focused on ensuring their sustainable land management practices are used so it can be farmed and enjoyed for generations to come.

“Stephen Burgess lives and breathes Landcare, even using his well-deserved Bob Hawke Landcare Award to fund a research project with local growers to develop cover cropping systems without using herbicides.

“Stephen Burgess has been a conservation warrior who has shepherded projects such as feral pig management, green corridors on private land, water quality monitoring and market garden support.

“I am honoured to represent a community that has passionate and hardworking members like Dean and Tracy Rockemer and Stephen Burgess. It is great to be able to hear firsthand what people in our local community are doing to care for their environments” said Mr O’Brien.

For more information on the National Landcare Program, visit nrm.gov.au/national-landcare-programme.