Thank you to everyone who came along to the Soil Conservation Service Charge Public Meeting in Katanning on 28th October, which was attended by 34 people.
Not everyone knows this, but Katanning Landcare is a Land Conservation District Committee (LCDC), which is a body that, instead of being incorporated, is governed by the Soil and Land Conservation Act WA (1945). There are only 21 LCDCs left in WA, and Katanning LCDC is the only LCDC in WA that still collects a Soil Conservation Service Charge (SCSC), which is levied off of rateable assessments in Katanning each year.
The Soil Conservation Service Charge is used to support Landcare activities in Katanning. For example, in the 2019-2020 financial year, we:
- assisted individuals and groups to apply for grant funding for on-ground works, to a value of $728,123, of which $61,332 was awarded, and the remainder $666,791 is pending and will be announced in the next financial year.
- currently have 10 grant funded projects, as well as a number of un-funded activities and projects under development, which are all actively managed by two staff, equaling approximately 1.1FTE, and with the assistance of Katanning LCDC committee members in a volunteer capacity.
- secured a number of private contracts, completing landscape planning and implementation projects for the Shire of Katanning and native garden maintenance work at the Katanning Primary School.
- worked with schools in Katanning through activities including tree planting, and with visits from ‘Phoebe the Phascogale’ to raise awareness of endangered and threatened species in Katanning, responsible pet ownership, and the importance of habitat protection.
- attended the Katanning Show in 2019 (and had plans to attend a number of other community events through the year, but, you know, COVID).
- participated in a WA Museum Salinity display, presented several salinity case studies to the WA Landcare Network, and completed a number of reviews of Notice of Intent to Drain and Clearing Permit requests, and submitted a number of request for feedback to white papers, which included proposed changes to environmental laws and reviews of various processes and proposed funding opportunities.
Katanning LCDC did not receive any remuneration or grant funding to undertake these activities, and our ability to contribute expertise and human resources towards these important forums and with key stakeholders is directly the result of the availability of the Soil Conservation Service Charge.
In order to be eligible to continue to receive this levy, the Soil Conservation Service Charge process must be reviewed every three years and approved by council and the community to continue. As part of this process, we held a Public Meeting, with a quorum of 25 Katanning ratepayers set by the Minister for Agriculture.
We drew an excellent crowd of 29 ratepayers and 5 observers. With Cr Liz Guidera, Katanning Shire President, chairing the meeting.
Following clear presentation about the process and charge, a motion to maintain the Soil Conservation Service Charge for an additional 3 financial years was put to a vote, which was passed unanimously.
For more information on the process, please download the minutes of the meeting here: Minutes Public Meeting 2020.
Once again, thank you everyone! Without your support we cannot continue to do the work of improving our environment.