Every second year, Landcare NSW and Local Land Services hold a State Conference somewhere in New South Wales. The conference regularly attracts hundreds of attendees in the Landcare space, however the conference has never been held any further west than Albury. This has made it difficult in the past for landholders in the western part of the state to attend, particularly during times of drought when being away from the property for long periods of time isn’t possible.
The Western Local Land Services Region covers roughly 40% of NSW, yet a conference had never been held here despite the area representing almost half of the state. Western Landcare NSW tendered a bid to bring the conference to Broken Hill, a small mining town in the State’s Far West. Holding the conference in Broken Hill would give the drought-stricken local landholders a chance to attend a conference brimming with fantastic information relating to their livelihoods. It would also give attendees from the Eastern parts of the state an in-depth look at the Far West, what it has to offer and how it’s residents experience caring for their land. The added benefit of bringing some much-needed business to the small town would be a bonus.
The conference was a definite success, with over 300 attendees travelling from across NSW and interstate to spend two and a half days hearing some amazing presentations from people like keynote speaker Charlie Arnott (the winner of the 2018 Bob Hawke Landcare Award), and Simon Molesworth (the president of Landcare Broken Hill), who spoke about his group’s initiative Greening The Hill Mk. II. Attendees also embarked on several local field trips, including a solar farm, local art and sculptures, a historic underground mine, and a local station where the owners have been managing their land sustainably in order to safeguard the native vegetation.
The conference helped to put the spotlight on the Far West, inviting all who attended to start conversations about Landcare in difficult regions, particularly during times of drought and hardship. Many who attended had never seen landscapes quite like the ones surrounding Broken Hill, and as such had never really considered how to approach Landcare or sustainability in such an area. It was an eye-opener for many, and an experience that will never be forgotten
For more information and PDF download please visit: https://landcare.nsw.gov.au/groups/Western_landcare/2019-nsw-landcare-lls-conference/