Nascent - "coming into being; beginning to form or develop" - a very appropriate way to start this month's update as that was how our November at The Mulloon Institute (TMI) got underway with the "nascence" of Mulloon Consulting Contracting & Certifying (MCCC).
The Next Step
As mentioned at the end of last month's update, MCCC will be the mechanism for TMI to expand our work more broadly. Establishing a for-profit company, wholly owned by TMI, was deemed to be the best way to get more work done on landscape repair and rehydration and assist landholders to achieve a more sustainable future. Profits from MCCC will go back to help run TMI. Already we have a number of potential clients that we will be visiting in coming weeks to assess the best way forward for their properties and the catchments they lie within.
Carolyn Hall has been appointed as the General Manager of MCCC and comes very well accredited to steer MCCC having been in environmental consulting roles in the private sector. Carolyn has hit the ground running and there should be plenty to report on in the coming months. It is an exciting period (a "nascent" period no less!) for TMI as MCCC will effectively be designing and assisting landholders in many catchments to implement what we are achieving with the Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project (MCLRP).
November was a busy month for our advocacy role, with Tony Coote and I having meetings with both the Federal and NSW Governments. We met with Richard McLoughlin, Assistant Secretary Water Resources, Department of Agriculture & Water Resources, to discuss our work and its relevance to federal policies. He was very complimentary of our achievements and is interested in using the MCLRP as a case study in a submission the Australian Government is making to the United Nations regarding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's). Having already been recognised by the UN through its Sustainable Development Solutions Network, we would be very pleased to be a case study as well.
Also at that meeting was Lee Nelson, Director Landcare in the same department and he was keen to ensure we were making an application under the Smart Farming Partnership program he oversees. We assured him we were and Luke Peel is actively working on that right now as applications close before Christmas.
To stay closely in touch with the NSW Government and following previous visits to Mulloon Creek, we organised to meet with Deputy Premier (and local member) John Barilaro and Niall Blair, Minister for Primary Industries & Regional Water. Unfortunately the Deputy Premier was a late cancellation, however we had a very constructive meeting with Minister Blair and his Senior Adviser. The Deputy Premier's Head of Policy was in attendance.
Minister Blair strongly supports the work of TMI and is keen to assist with approvals through his department for the works on Mulloon Creek as part of the MCLRP. He understands the flow on benefits of landscape repair and rehydration to agricultural enterprises. We were able to brief him on the establishment of MCCC and discussed the future possibilities of private certification of works like those within the MCLRP.
Training and Skills Development
Training and skills development were the other topics of discussion and the Minister was keen to have a copy of our 'How to Guide' - Landscape Rehydration - Theory and Practice. The Deputy Premier is also the Minister for Skills so his office will be looking closely at how they can help us develop our training program further.
This meeting was shortly followed by a meeting with Terry Charlton, Head of TAFE NSW and also the Chair of Greater Sydney Local Land Services (LLS) and Board member of NSW LLS. Working in partnership with TAFE and LLS is what we now will pursue with Terry's assistance. Given the success of our workshops, developing broader training opportunities is an extra exciting area for TMI and another "nascent" moment.
Speaking of our workshops, the November workshop was a resounding success and the feedback has been very positive from those attending. Tarwyn Park Training, Peter Andrews, Peter Hazell and Cam Wilson provided expert practical training in Natural Sequence Farming and related techniques. The participants were very complimentary of Landscape Rehydration - Theory and Practice and feedback on those expert notes will assist us to fine tune them.
The end of November saw another "beginning" or "nascent" event with receipt of the approval from the NSW Office of Water for the construction of creek interventions for the first stage of the MCLRP. This was the culmination of incredibly comprehensive design and documentation by the TMI team led by Peter Hazell. This a wonderful result and means that early in 2018 physical work in the creek can commence. Applications for the further stages will follow so that we can move quickly to get this UN recognized project happening on the ground.
Following our declaration as State Landcare Champions at the 2017 NSW Landcare Awards, we have also been featured in the national 'Landcare in Focus' publication, introducing our work to a broader audience.
Finally, all the very best for a happy and safe Christmas and New Year from the TMI team to all of you who have shown confidence in and support of our work. We have achieved a lot in 2017 and my report covering those achievements tabled at our recent AGM is available here (or perhaps on our website?). But those achievements and future work can only happen with your continued support.