Cane farming brothers win Queensland Landcare awards

Brothers Tony, left, and Chris Rossi won the Landcare Farming Award. Tony won the Queensland Individual Landcarer Award.
Brothers Tony, left, and Chris Rossi won the Landcare Farming Award. Tony won the Queensland Individual Landcarer Award.

A cane-farming family from the Gordonvale area in northern Queensland has been honoured twice in the state's Landcare awards.

Tony Rossi - a cane farmer, scientist and member of the Mulgrave Landcare group - won the Australian Government Individual Landcarer Award, while his family business, V Rossi and Sons, won the Landcare Farming Award.

The Rossi family, including Tony and his twin brother Chris, has been trialling composting systems for use in sugarcane growing operations.

Using waste products such as biosolids (treated sewage sludge) and green waste from the council, they have developed a high quality organic fertiliser, reducing the need for chemical fertiliser and therefore the impact of their farming operation on water quality - that ultimately affects the Great Barrier Reef.

The brothers have also held executive and hands-on roles in their local Landcare group and have been instrumental in helping to rehabilitate ecosystems throughout the Mulgrave Valley.

The winners in the Queensland Landcare Awards were announced on November 14.

Geoff Elliot, chair of Queensland Water and Land Carers, paid tribute to award nominees and winners.

"We are seeing real environmental outcomes from the dedication and commitment of community land and water carers and it is important that we continue to support and recognise their tremendous efforts," Mr Elliot said.

Winners of the national award categories will go on to represent Queensland at the 2020 National Landcare Awards in Sydney.

Other Queensland Landcare awards went to:

Australian Government Partnerships for Landcare Award: Saraya Robinson, of the City of Gold Coast Beaches to Bushland program, with Emma Jackson, chair of the Cape York Region Group

Australian Government Partnerships for Landcare Award: Saraya Robinson, of the City of Gold Coast Beaches to Bushland program, with Emma Jackson, chair of the Cape York Region Group

Australian Government Partnerships for Landcare Award

The City of Gold Coast Beaches to Bushland program, celebrating 20 years and now comprising 10 local groups, has restored more than 120 hectares of land and planted 450,000 native trees in areas that required revegetation.

Virgin Coastcare Award: Molly Steer and Emily Walker, both of Straw No More, with Rhonda Sorensen, chair of the Landcare awards organising committee.

Virgin Coastcare Award: Molly Steer and Emily Walker, both of Straw No More, with Rhonda Sorensen, chair of the Landcare awards organising committee.

Virgin Coastcare Award

Straw No More was founded in Cairns in 2017 by then 9-year-old Molly Steer, to eliminate plastic straws in schools across Australia. Since then the Strawbassador program has been launched to empower young people around the nation to help spread Molly's message about single-use plastic reduction.

Woolworths Junior Landcare Team Award: Sandra Bulger, principal of McDonnell Creek State School, with Eseta Taua, Woolworths Family Champion and Fresh Convenience manager Jenny Ga.

Woolworths Junior Landcare Team Award: Sandra Bulger, principal of McDonnell Creek State School, with Eseta Taua, Woolworths Family Champion and Fresh Convenience manager Jenny Ga.

Woolworths Junior Landcare Team Award

At McDonnell Creek State School, based in Deeral and backing on to the rainforests of Gadgarra National Park, students and teachers have provided habitat and protection to unique Far North Queensland birds and butterflies. Species such as the Ulysses and Cairns Birdwing butterflies, the yellow bellied sunbird and many other species have been protected through native planting regeneration programs.

Austcover Young Landcare Leadership Award: Rosalinde Brinkman, of the Gold Coast Catchment Association, with her parents

Austcover Young Landcare Leadership Award: Rosalinde Brinkman, of the Gold Coast Catchment Association, with her parents

Austcover Young Landcare Leadership Award

Rosalinde Brinkman, 25, of the Gold Coast Catchment Association, is an environmentalist whose work with the PlatypusWatch, WaterWatch, WaterBug and SeaGrass programs led to a 100 per cent increase in funding. This allowed the Gold Coast Catchment Association to employ Rose full-time, employ two assistants part-time, and start a new Cane Toad Program.

Indigenous Land Management Award: winner Trevor Meldrum, of Cape York Weeds and Feral Animals Incorporated.

Indigenous Land Management Award: winner Trevor Meldrum, of Cape York Weeds and Feral Animals Incorporated.

Indigenous Land Management Award

Indigenous not-for-profit group Cape York Weeds and Feral Animals Incorporated, works with the Tropical Weeds Research Centre to develop cutting-edge pest control programs. By combating weeds and feral animals, the group has helped restore the health of internationally known wetlands at Keatings Lagoon Conservation Area in Cooktown.

Australian Community Media Landcare Community Group Award: Susie Duncan and Sue Brieschke, of Hinterland Bush Links on the Sunshine Coast.

Australian Community Media Landcare Community Group Award: Susie Duncan and Sue Brieschke, of Hinterland Bush Links on the Sunshine Coast.

Australian Community Media Landcare Community Group Award

Hinterland Bush Links is a community organisation working to guarantee the long-term survival of native plants and animals in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. As a part of The Great Eastern Ranges Initiative, they contribute to restoring and connecting landscape along the Great Dividing Range of eastern Australia.

Australian Government Innovation in Agriculture Land Management Award: winner Sharon Dwyer, of Central Queensland Soil Health Systems, with MP Warren Entsch.

Australian Government Innovation in Agriculture Land Management Award: winner Sharon Dwyer, of Central Queensland Soil Health Systems, with MP Warren Entsch.

Australian Government Innovation in Agriculture Land Management Award

Central Queensland Soil Health Systems, based in Walkerston, has researched targeted multispecies cover crops to mitigate chemical run off and erosion, while promoting beneficial soil microbial activity. For example, sunflowers are grown with cane and harvested for seed before the cane is mature, thereby improving soil microbiome, providing a cash crop and conditioning the soil.

  • Australian Community Media, publisher of this website, is a media partner with Landcare and a sponsor of their Community Group award.