We mourn the passing of Joan Kirner, AC. In 1986, as the then Minister for Conservation, Forests and Land in the Victorian Government, Joan Kirner was a pivotal figure in the founding of Landcare. She saw the importance of local communities in responding to environmental issues. She worked with her staff to develop an approach in which community thinking, planning and action had government support. With the late Heather Mitchell, OBE, AM, then President of the Victorian Farmers Federation, she formed an alliance between conservation and agricultural interests that saw the first Land Care groups formed.
When the Australian Conservation Foundation and the National Farmers Federation took the idea of community-based action to the Hawke Government, they put the name “Landcare” on the national stage. In 2010, Joan became patron of the Victorian Landcare Council, saying “I believe it is now time for the volunteer community to have a representative voice at the decision making table”.
Now 30 years old, the idea of Landcare has continued and evolved through many environmental, social and political changes. Joan’s passing leaves us with the responsibility to carry forward the idea of the community as a way to generate lasting change in landscapes.