Landcare & environmental volunteering

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Friends groups

Landcare and friend groups help to protect and restore a wide range of native plants, animals and environments.

Friends groups are comprised of members who work together to help protect and restore:

  • specific reserves
  • native plant species
  • animal species

There are hundreds of friends groups helping to conserve and restore Victorian parks. Every group is independent and autonomous.

Yarra Ranges Council works closely with local environmental groups to help them achieve their goals.

The Victorian Environment Friends Network can help you find local friends groups and members.

Want to learn more about Landcare and Friends groups? Check out our Environmental Volunteer video below.

 

Landcare groups

Landcare is a national network that protects, restores and sustainably manages Australia's natural environment. With over 6000 groups nationwide, there is sure to be a group for you.

For more information visit the Landcare Australia website.

For information on local Landcare groups and members visit:

Join a group

Joining a group is a wonderful opportunity to network and connect with your local community.

Groups are always looking for new members. View the environmental volunteer group locations to find a group near you.

Start a group

To start your own group, get together with like minded people and contact the Environmental Volunteer Support Officer on 1300 333 368 or email environmentalvolunteers@yarraranges.vic.gov.au.

Volunteer guidelines

Are you interested in forming a group or becoming a volunteer? Please view the Environmental Volunteer Guidelines(PDF, 4MB).

If you require a hardcopy of these guidelines, please send an email to environmentalvolunteers@yarraranges.vic.gov.au

Volunteer code of conduct

To ensure we create a health space for our volunteers, we have developed an Environmental Volunteer Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct establishes the standards and behaviours that must be demonstrated by anyone that represents Yarra Ranges Council.

If you are registering as an Environmental Volunteer Group, a designated representative from your group will need to complete a code of conduct acceptance form. This is to ensure Public Liability and Personal Accident Insurance can be provided by Council.

Please familiarise yourself with the Environmental Volunteer Code of Conduct by clicking on the boxes below. For further advice and assistance, please contact the Yarra Ranges Council Parks and Bushland team.

Preface

We greatly value the contribution that our volunteers make to our environment and the amenity of the parks and reserves within the Yarra Ranges. Without the involvement of our volunteers, maintaining our open space network and the community connection to these spaces would be considerably more challenging.

In order to ensure we create a healthy space for our volunteers, Council staff and the broader community to engage, it is important that there is a common understanding of expected behaviours.

We have developed an Environmental Volunteer Code of Conduct to establish what we can expect of each other. Our Code of Conduct sets out the standards and behaviors that must be demonstrated by the following people appointed by, or representing, Yarra Ranges Council (Council), and is in line with similar Codes of Conduct in place for Council staff and Ward Councillors:

  • Volunteers with Council, including volunteers from Friends Of Groups, Landcare Groups and any other Environmental Volunteers
  • Work experience students or graduate placements who perform work for Council

Unless stated otherwise, a reference to, ‘you’, ‘your’ or ‘we’ in this document indicates all of the people listed above.

To ensure we are meeting our obligations to provide a healthy environment for all users of our open space network, all volunteer groups will need to sign the code of conduct as a condition of volunteering, and to ensure ongoing Public Liability and Personal Accident Insurance can be provided by Council.

Please familiarise yourself with the Environmental Volunteer Code of Conduct and the Environmental Volunteer Guidelines, so as to ensure you are acting in accordance with these documents when conducting works on Council owned or managed land.

Advice and assistance is always available, so please don’t hesitate to contact Yarra Ranges Council’s Parks and Bushland team should you require any further information or clarification regarding your obligations under the Code of Conduct. 

Purpose of the code

The Code aims to clarify Council’s expectations of volunteers working on Council owned or managed land.

The Code will:

  • Underpin our decision-making and activities;
  • Result in effective compliance with relevant policies on how to deal with unacceptable behaviour;
  • Enhance our integrity and reputation;
  • Help to define accountability and levels of responsibility;
  • Provide guidance to enable you to solve ethical dilemmas you might face while volunteering.

Council procedures for managing a range of matters mentioned in this Code can be found on Council’s website under the Environmental Volunteers Guidelines. 

Operation of code

A representative from every volunteer group will be required to sign the Code of Conduct and provide a copy to all members of the group.

This will allow for Council to provide Public Liability Insurance and Personal Accident Insurance for groups that have signed the Code of Conduct.

Breach of the code

In line with similar Codes of Conduct in place for Council staff and Ward Councillors, a breach of this Code may constitute misconduct, which will be managed in accordance with Council’s Environmental Volunteers Guidelines.

What is expected of volunteers?

Yarra Ranges Council greatly values the contribution made by the Environmental Volunteers who work in our municipality and consider them to be valued partners in the management and enhancement of the Yarra Ranges environment. This Code of Conduct is designed to continue and improve this partnership. All environmental decisions made regarding Council land will be made in an effort to enhance biodiversity or amenity values.

  • Any work occurring on Council land must be agreed to by the relevant Bushland Management Officer.

  • All discussions, whether in person, online or on the phone, will be mutually respectful and without unnecessary anger.

  • Any language or behaviour deemed unacceptable will end the discussion until a suitable later date and, if necessary, when a mediator can be present.

  • Any grievances regarding Yarra Ranges Council’s environmental decisions must first be addressed directly to the Environmental Volunteer Support Officer, or relevant Council Officer.

  • If an issue cannot be resolved, either party may contact Council’s Team Leaders to assist.

  • Aggressive behaviour will not be tolerated.

  • Before starting any works, all groups need to obtain insurance for their activities (insurance information can be found in the Environmental Volunteers Guidelines). The Environmental Volunteer Support Officer (EVSO) and Council can assist with this so that Groups have appropriate Public Liability and Personal Accident Insurance. The EVSO can provide Certificates of Currency on request.

  • Groups must abide by the terms of agreement of the insurer and must immediately inform Council if there are any changes to agreed activities. Council will then inform the insurer. The insurer is not obliged to cover updated activities. Groups will only proceed with extra activities once they have confirmation from Yarra Ranges Council.

  • Whilst working on Council owned or managed land, volunteers are expected to ensure clear, courteous communication with local residents who may be affected by, or enquiring about, volunteer activities. Volunteers are expected to provide early warning of planned activities, and always be prepared to listen attentively and respond courteously to any issues residents may raise, and be prepared to consider changing the activity in response to community feedback. If you are unable to assist a resident with their request you should refer them to the relevant Yarra Ranges Council staff member for help.

  • All works conducted on Council owned or managed land must be conducted in accordance with Council’s Environmental Volunteers Guidelines. 

Information privacy and confidentiality

All volunteers are expected to comply with the objectives and obligations prescribed in the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014, and Health Records Act 2001. In practical terms this means you should understand the importance of personal privacy and confidentiality. Personal information requires special treatment and protection, and should only be used for the work related purpose it was intended. All volunteers and environmental volunteers who provide confidential information to Council have the right to expect this information will be treated as confidential. 

 

Improper or undue influence by employees

At no time should you use your volunteer position at Council to improperly influence or harass other volunteers or members of the public, in order to gain an improper advantage for yourself or others. All decisions need to be seen by all as fair and transparent, based on principles of merit, equity and natural justice.

Use of Council resources

Council resources should only be used for the purpose in which they are intended and provided to you by Council. Resources must be used in accordance with the instructions and the relevant Council policy. Resources must be used in a manner that minimises risk to personal injury, reputational damage or financial cost to fix or replace items.

Please report any damaged or dangerous equipment to the Environmental Volunteer Support Officer or relevant Council Officer immediately.

Council property is to be used for work related purposes only, and must not be given away, borrowed, lent, destroyed or otherwise disposed of, unless authorised by a relevant Council Officer in accordance with our policy.

 

Fraudulent and corrupt activity

Volunteers must observe the highest standards of integrity in financial matters and never engage in fraudulent or corrupt activity.

Fraud is dishonest activity causing actual or financial loss to any person or entity and includes theft and misappropriation of Council assets. 

Corruption is “dishonest activity in which an employee or a contractor abuses their position of trust in order to achieve some personal gain or advantage for themselves or another person or entity.” 

Equal opportunity

Council is committed to providing all volunteers with a safe and productive environment free from discrimination, harassment and bullying. Council will not tolerate harassment, nor any action which is humiliating, intimidating or hostile. Discrimination, harassment and bullying is unlawful under both federal and state legislation and such conduct is unacceptable.

You are required to comply with Council’s Equal Opportunity Policy and Procedures, treating others with respect and not engaging in behaviour that may constitute discrimination, harassment or bullying. A breach of this policy may result in disciplinary action, including termination. Further information can be found in the Environmental Volunteers Guidelines.

Safeguarding Child Safety

All children who engage in any Council provided service or activity have the right to feel safe and to be safe. The welfare of children in Council’s care or using Council services will always be our first priority. Council aims to create a child safe and child friendly environment where children feel safe and are able to grow, develop, and have fun. All information about child safety and protocols can be found in the Environmental Volunteer Guidelines.

Health and Safety

In order to protect our own and other’s health and safety it is a requirement of all volunteers to work in accordance with the Environmental Volunteer Guidelines. 

Social media

Whether using social media for work purposes, or in a private capacity, volunteers must not do anything that might adversely affect their standing as a volunteer of Council or which could bring Council into disrepute.

Still Unsure?

Not every situation can be detailed in a Code of Conduct. This is because every situation is different. To help you assess a situation, a useful rule is – when in doubt, talk about it. If you are uncertain about any aspect of this Code please discuss this with the Yarra Ranges Council Environmental Officer responsible for your area.

List of policies, procedures and legislation linked can be found in the Environmental Volunteer Guidelines 

 

Hardware vouchers

We have $30 IGA and hardware vouchers available to existing groups.  Vouchers are valid at Montrose IGA, Yarra Glen IGA, Launching Place Home Hardware, Belgrave South Home Hardware or Bunnings. Vouchers can be collected from any of our community links.

Apply for a voucher