Local Land Services forum connects with community

Outside the Local Land Services South East (LLS) Bega office are (from left) Dan Bakker, LLS South East general manager Gavin Whiteley, Neil Waterson, LLS South East chairman David Mitchell and Debbie Platts.

Outside the Local Land Services South East (LLS) Bega office are (from left) Dan Bakker, LLS South East general manager Gavin Whiteley, Neil Waterson, LLS South East chairman David Mitchell and Debbie Platts.

THE South East Local Land Services (LLS) held its Bega Local Customer Forum on Tuesday to discuss regional issues that impact on land holders. 

Around 35 people attended the proceedings, which began with a presentation of the LLS before breaking into workgroups to discuss which issues were most important. 

“I think it’s a good opportunity for the customer to have their input and ideas put forward,” South East LLS chairman David Mitchell said. 

“[Also] it’s about getting clarity of what the Local Land Services is.

“Local Land Services is a major government reform of land management and agricultural services, probably the largest reform since the 1940s.

“Our core functions are in increasing profitability in farming businesses.

“The NSW Government sees global food security as very important.”

The functions LLS assists with are: agriculture production; biosecurity, such as protection of animals and control of pests; natural resource management, such as water and land; and emergency management, by preparing and responding to emergencies such as fire and flood. 

“It’s about us working closely with land managers and local communities to see what their priorities are, and what services they value,” Mr Mitchell said.

“We want to know what it is they value in the Bega Valley, as it would differ from other places, like the Monaro.” 

Mr Mitchell believed customers were coming to the LLS as they saw them as a quality source of up to date information on the areas they cover. 

This was the second of eight such forums around the South East region to take place over three weeks, the first which was in Nimmitabel where the most popular issues discussed were weeds and emergency management. 

South East LLS general manager Gavin Whiteley said the response in Bega had so far been “pleasantly surprising” and the same to the positive response experienced in the Monaro. 

“We will be back to have regular discussions,” he said. 

“All we are doing is encouraging the community to work with us for the future.”

Those who couldn’t make it to the forum can have their say on issues raised on the LLS Open website, which can be accessed from the LLS website at www.lls.nsw.gov.au/southeast.

To learn more about what the LLS can offer, visit the website, come into the local office on the rooftop of the Sapphire Marketplace, Bega or call 1300 795 299. 

Local landholders raise concerns

AT THE South East Local Land Services (LLS) Local Customer Forum participants from the Bega Valley raised issues which impacted majorly on them and other land managers in the region. 

Neil Waterson was concerned with a loss of land services, due to cost cutting by the government. 

“We’ve just lost advisory personnel in the rural world,” he said. 

Debbie Platts said that the forum was important to get involved with the system, and noted the relationship farmers have with the land as she sees them as also environmentalists. 

“I see it as an opportunity to get involved at this level as a farmer,” she said.

“At this level we still have the opportunity to help ‘steer the ship’, so to speak. 

“Also, we can remind the government employees that without farmers, they wouldn’t have a job.” 

Dan Bakker said his group had been discussing processes and networks of early intervention in arising issues.

“So having processes in place to detect peoples’ concerns very quickly and how best to deliver support on that,” he said. 

The participants commented while the LLS was still finding its feet, they accepted they had lost many colleagues with the changes in the lands services which could have an effect.  

“We do appreciate their input, with putting these days on,” Mr Waterson said. 

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