Tasmanian environment groups without funding after failing ‘value for money’ test


June 01, 2018 08:48:18

Two Tasmanian environmental organisations are in crisis after failing to secure funding for the next five years.

Funding for two out of three natural resource management (NRM) groups across the state will dry up on June 30 after they were unsuccessful in a competitive tender process for Commonwealth funds.

The ABC has confirmed neither Cradle Coast NRM nor NRM South will get a slice of the $450 million available through the Commonwealth Regional Land Partnerships Phase Two program.

The remaining organisation, NRM North, said the outcome of the tender process was “confidential”.

Cradle Coast NRM states it is a “not-for-profit organisation … which actively assists communities in north-west Tasmania to manage and improve their natural resources to ensure a healthy future for our region”.

“Cradle Coast NRM fosters collaborative management of our region’s natural resources by government, industry, private enterprise, Aboriginal and community groups through the provision of information, resources and technical support,” the organisation’s website reads.

NRM South states it “works closely with government, landholders, research organisations, community groups and others to build partnerships, lead on-ground action and share information resources and knowledge about our region”.

“We are focused on delivering economic benefit to the community and the state and demonstrating the value of managing our natural assets,” it says.

The Regional Land Partnerships Phase Two program is designed to select and fund a service provider in each of 56 NRM regions across the country to deliver environment and agriculture projects such as programs to eradicate feral cats.

This round of funding is the first time the NRM organisations have had to apply through a competitive tender process.

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Energy said a tender process was used to ensure taxpayers were getting “value for money”.

“A competitive process allows the Government to identify the service providers that represent best value for money, to achieve effective outcomes for the Australia’s natural environment and agriculture industries, ensuring funding is prioritised to the initiatives that the department considers maximise improvements on-ground,” the spokesperson said.

In 2016/17 NRM South received $1,863,938 in grants and subsidies and Cradle Coast NRM received $1,474,320 in federal grants.

The competitive tender process required the organisations to set clear, targeted objectives with outcomes that can be monitored and demonstrated. The tender process is still underway and neither organisation has yet been told why it failed.

A spokesperson for NRM South said it was looking to other ways to secure funding.

Cradle Coast NRM and NRM South have been the only NRM service providers in the north-west and southern Tasmanian regions respectively.

The department spokesperson said “for any regions where service providers have not been identified through the tender process, the departments are working closely with the State Government to develop alternative approaches”.





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