Community facilities | November 16, 2015

Labor’s cash grab targets Landmate program

Emma Kealy, National Member for Lowan has called for an urgent review of funding arrangements for the Landmate program, where minimum security prisoners undertake land environmental and remedial works, without cost.

The program is operated by the Department of Justice and Regulation, and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

“Daniel Andrews recently introduced a $400 per day charge for private landowners and some community organisations to now access the Landmate program,” Emma Kealy said.

“Last month I wrote to both the Minister for Corrections and the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water requesting an urgent review of the funding arrangements for the Landmate program to ensure it continues to be provided at no cost to local landowners and organisations,” she said.

Through the Landmate program, gangs from the Langi Kal Kal Prison and Hopkins Correction Centre provide labour for local organisation and landowners to support environmental improvement and emergency property clean up works.

“Farmers who are seriously affected by bush fires do not need the extra burden and stress of having to make financial decisions on top of dealing with the aftermath of a local disaster,” Ms Kealy said.

“Farmers already have to make more difficult decisions such as the killing of burnt livestock and dealing with the loss of their livelihood.

“Unfortunately the season has been worse than expected, with low rainfall coupled with unseasonably high temperatures devastating our crops and reducing water supplies on farms.

“Farm businesses are the backbone of our country communities and by supporting them we are supporting everyone who lives and works in regional Victoria,” Ms Kealy said.

“Many local projects would not have been possible without the contributions by the Landmate program,” she said.

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