The Review of Accredited Permaculture Training almost complete

The Review of Accredited Permaculture Training almost complete

For the past 18 months, a group of Permaculture Educators has been working hard to complete the 5-yearly review of Permaculture in conjunction with Skills Impact, who are the Skills Service Organisation that manages the AHC – Agriculture, Horticulture & Conservation and Ecosystem Management – Training Package of which Permaculture is a part.
There have been many opportunities for engagement with this process and lots of you have participated which is great as it means the resulting Units, Qualifications and Skill Sets will be ‘fit for purpose’. It also means that you will have the chance to participate in and benefit from the roll out of the reviewed courses, if you wish.

Training providers, including those offering the PDC, might be interested in partnering with RTOs to offer some components of this training
 There will be funding available for some programs in some States
 There will be opportunities for those with current qualifications (including Certificate IV in Training and Assessment) to deliver this training
 There will also be opportunities to work with the Education Team of Permaculture Australia to update assessment tools and training materials
 And of course there will be opportunities for study and professional development

In a nutshell, here are the main components resulting from the Review:
 5 reviewed qualifications
 48 units of competency
 13 skill sets

It is exciting to note that many of the barriers between the PDC and the accredited training have been removed, and it is now much easier for teachers and trainers to find work in the accredited system (with a TAE qualification, of course). It is also exciting to note that two of the new skill sets have been specifically developed to bridge gaps:

Permaculture Designer Skill Set – corresponds to the core skills and knowledge of the PDC This skill set describes the skills and knowledge for working with clients and community to design and develop private, community or enterprise based permaculture systems in rural and urban
environments. Comprised of units:
 AHCPER401 Provide advice on permaculture principles and practices
 AHCPER402 Design a rural permaculture system
 AHCPER403 Design an urban permaculture system
 AHCPER4X3 Select ‘appropriate technology’ for a permaculture system
 AHCPER406 Identify and analyse bioregional characteristics and resources

Advanced Permaculture Skill Set – bridges the gap between Diploma of Permaculture and Bachelor Degree in the Higher Education system
This skill set describes advanced skills and knowledge to help individuals to transition into higher education. The units provide skills and knowledge for planning community governance and developing strategic plans for permaculture projects. Comprised of units:
 AHCPER6X1 Develop a strategic plan for a permaculture project or enterprise
 AHCPER6X2 Plan community governance and decision-making processes

 AHCPER6X3 Prepare a sustainable community and bioregional development strategy

The timeline for the roll out depends on the government processes, but we anticipate that the newly endorsed courses will be available from early 2023. If you are interested in the process or want to familiarise yourself with what has been done, please go to the Skills Impact project page and click through to the areas that interest you. You can find the documents that correspond to earlier stages in the process by clicking on the arrows in the flow chart.

Finally, Permaculture Australia would like to acknowledge the work of the following people and organisations who participated in the Subject Matter Expert Working Group:
 Lis Bastian, Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute
 Fiona Blackham, GAIA Permaculture
 Sue Brunskill, Permaculture Australia
 Rob Fenton, National Environment Centre, TAFE NSW 
 Robyn Francis, Permaculture College Australia
 Graeme George, Permaculture Yarra Valley
 Megan Hall, South Regional TAFE WA
 Julianne Hartman, Byron Regional Community College
 Martina Hoeppner, Permaculture West
 Keri Hopeward, Permaculture SA
 Lachlan McKenzie, International Permaculture Educators Network
 Ross Mars, Water Installations Pty Ltd
 Janet Milllington – Eumundy Community Gardens
 Kushala Prem, Natural Systems Permaculture
 Nicole Steel, Byron Regional Community College
 Karen van Huizen –  Alpine Shire Emergency Management
 Aaron Sorensen, Elemental Permaculture
 Virginia Solomon, Permaculture Australia
 Richard Vinycomb, Byron Regional Community College

And our amazing professional training consultants from Skills Impact
 Ruth Geldard, Industry Skills Standards Specialist, Skills Impact
 Ron Barrow, Writer, Skills Impact and Nestor Consulting

We all look forward to rolling out our new courses and to energetic participation and enthusiasm from permies everywhere.
For further information on the Review and the new components, please contact

Permaculture Project public consultation

Permaculture Project public consultation

Dear colleagues and friends

Permaculture vocational training is currently under review and the Public Consultation phase is open now until March 28th.

All permies are encouraged to participate, even in a small way. Any engagement, any comments or questions are welcome and will be acted upon.

Go to the project page or visit the Skills Impact Website and follow the prompts to the Permaculture, Organic Farming and Composting project. Permaculture is completely separate from the other two subjects, but the project is occurring in the same phase of a wider project.

If you have missed the workshops and would like to discuss it or get some direction from the project manager, please don’t hesitate to contact Skills Impact direct by phone or email. The Project Team (Project Manager, Writer and Subject Matter Expert committee) are very keen to hear from all permies.

This consultation has far-reaching effects on the entire permaculture sector and your input will make all the difference to the outcome. Please take the time to visit the pages and post your comments.

Thank you for your time

The board, staff and volunteers of Permaculture Australia

TedxPermaQueer – Cultural Solutions to Climate Change

TedxPermaQueer – Cultural Solutions to Climate Change

Tackling our ongoing climate crisis means adjusting the behaviours, attitudes and relationships we hold with the environment and with each other. It’s not just tech solutions we require but deep cultural shifts. It won’t be a single action but the collection of many small and sweeping changes that sets us up for success or failure and culture is the bedrock of behaviour.

We’ll be exploring through a variety of speakers how shifting culture from mainstream society, whether ancient or modern, can help change our current climate path. With special emphasis on first nations ways of knowing and being, drawing from lands managed in sustainable and regenerative ways prior and post colonisation, we will explore what a new space of cultural emergence might look like. An emergence that is appropriate, equitable and listens to the needs of the land and the people.

  • What does it mean to be a custodial species in our environment?
  • What is culture? what is good culture and what does it mean to reclaim our cultural practices?
  • How can we contribute to meaningful cultural emergence as ethical and responsible consumers?

These are a few of the questions we’ll be exploring in depths over the three days of this seminar, with many more exploring the themes of right relating, impacts of colonisation, moving beyond helplessness, cross-cultural dialogue and breaking the binaries we live within.

All profits raised from this event is going towards a specific land back fund for First Nations Aboriginal people. 

For more information:

The event details can be found here.

Permaqueer are Professional members of Permaculture Australia, the national permaculture member organisation. Find out more including how to join here.

Bonnie Tuttle: building local economy & community resilience

Bonnie Tuttle: building local economy & community resilience

“I support individuals, micro/small/family-owned business owners and people in not-for-profit or social enterprises. I do this because I believe that grassroots action and people working together locally is better for all of us. I see the enormous difference not-for-profits and social enterprises make in our communities. I believe that local business is a cornerstone of connection and resilience. And behind it all is you and I – just people with our own personal and family commitments, trying to do our best.”

PA’s Kym spoke with Bonnie Tuttle, one of our new PA members based in lutrawita / Tasmania about the links between permaculture & Holistic Decision Making, building local economy, and obtaining many yields by working with small community organisations/groups.

For those who don’t know you, tell us more about yourself?

I’m a business and community consultant and my core focus is on helping our communities grow through service and enterprise. I offer training, facilitation, coaching, project management and marketing/communications support. I’m based in the South of the beautiful lutrawita / Tasmania, on the ‘sunny Eastern Shore’ which has allowed me to create some lovely little microclimates in my garden, where annual veggies were a (very time consuming) passion before I discovered permaculture! Now we have significantly more perennials.

I can’t remember how I first came to permaculture. I think living here with such a small and well-connected community meant that I just stumbled across it when keeping up to date with fellow PA members Hannah at Good Life Permaculture, and Lauren and Oberon from Spiral Garden. I did some reading and although the gardening aspect really spoke to my hands-in-the-dirt obsession, it also set off all the bells in my strategic/solutions/design/planning brain, which had lived in the corporate growth economy for far too long.

What are some of the wins and challenges of your work activities and running your own business?

The main challenge is that I have chosen to work with grassroots organisations, and people who don’t generally have a lot of access to funds. During my Permaculture Design Course (with GLP) I became more interested in the economic aspects of permaculture, because it helped me to better understand the issues, but also some of the solutions.

I am still grappling with how to best obtain a yield from my work whilst maintaining a sense of fair share, but I have adopted barter as a form of payment, set up payment plans, and joined the CENTS network to try to make my services accessible to everyone. I do a little bit of ‘Robin Hood-ing’ with corporate clients every now and then, as long as they align with my values – by working with some larger clients who have capacity to pay I can then offer time pro-bono to other volunteer-led grassroots groups, or start-ups without any capital.

“Although this ‘target market’ may not be the most appealing in a marketing sense, I am all the richer for it. I have created the most wonderful tapestry of friends and acquaintances, and I now have the opportunity to share my knowledge with people I know will use it well and build a better future for themselves and our community.

Another ‘win’ is that I am able to live a more holistic life, with work integrated into the flow of my days. If I fancy a walk in the bush, I can take it. If the tomatoes need watering, I can pop out and do it. My days are still extremely busy, and I do work early in the morning and late into the night on occasion – but I pick my kids up from school every day, and am always here if the neighbours need a hand.

You are doing some great work in Holistic Design Management (HDM). How do you see this linking with permaculture (ethics & principles) and broader community resilience?

I learned HDM with Dan (Palmer) early this year, and it immediately sparked something. I have used the framework on a number of occasions now, with individuals, couples and groups. There are many similarities to other forms of strategy and design, and I tend to pick what I think will be the most effective tool for each client.

I see many linkages with permaculture. The most powerful impact I have seen so far (and I’m only at the beginning of my HDM journey) is the impact it can have on Zone Zero. Many people put substantial energy into People Care, but their focus is on the ‘other’. By using the nested wholes structure we can see that there is no ‘other’ – we all exist in symbiosis with the living systems we are nested within. Without clarity and care for ourselves, we can’t possibly be sustainable nor regenerative.

I love that it is a Patterns to Details approach, and this aligns with my philosophy no matter what the framework is. I always start with the ‘big picture’ and work down, because in my work I see people, in their personal and professional lives, get very ‘stuck’ in the doing. Using HDM it is easy to give appropriate space to these enabling actions, but they are always in service of something bigger, and of great importance to the person or the organisation.

For me personally, the whole HDM system’s value is in Applying Self Regulation and Feedback. The tools have really helped me to stay on track, Observe and Interact with the things influencing my progress towards where I want to be, and adjust – usually through self regulation! I am known for being ‘all in’, and have been prone to burnout in the past. Utilising HDM energises me, and gives me little indicators when I’m putting too much energy into one thing (and so it helps me to better value diversity too!)

You are a member of PA (thank you!) – why do you think permaculture and supporting the national permaculture organisation is important?

Although I have a very grassroots focus in the work that I do, I acknowledge that the impact we can have on many issues including the economy and climate change really needs to be addressed at a higher level. This requires momentum and pressure. We can’t do it alone, and our many voices make our message louder.

I also think a sense of belonging is important – to all of us, but to me as an individual too. I have been very lucky to have only experienced a short lockdown period in April 2020, but my work can be very isolated which is hard for a social person like myself. I went from busy offices to being alone all day with my sleepy dog much of the time, and it made me realise that the only connections I had were work colleagues and family.

“Being a member of Permaculture Australia and Permaculture Tasmania has given me opportunities to connect with like minded people and spend my time doing things I consider to be a good use of what precious time we all have. I’m also relatively new to permaculture, and I love to learn. PA exposes me to such a wealth of knowledge – I’m so grateful.”

What do you see as the challenges we are currently facing (e.g. climate crisis) and how could these be addressed?

Wow that is a big question! There are so many opportunities, but the one I focus on is building local economy and taking the wind out of the global growth economy. There is such big ‘bang for buck’ in local economy! People have richer lives because they can work close to home; they can get what they need in their neighborhoods, cutting down on monocultures and carbon miles; we would consume less, and what we would consume would be more necessary and less frivolous if it wasn’t just available at the click of a button from the other side of the earth. From a business owner’s perspective I think it would be easier to find our own place in the market, because we wouldn’t be competing with people online from everywhere. And services would be place based and therefore more tailored and effective…

This isn’t all necessarily true of local economies all of the time, and it would take a lot of work. But I think if as consumers and business owners we turned our minds to providing for ourselves and our neighbours, buying only what we need, and took our feet off the accelerator in the quest for global domination then a lot would change for the better.

What does the rest of 2021 have in store for Bonnie Tuttle Consulting?

I fell into working for myself because of a family emergency, and so at the time I didn’t have time to do things ‘properly’. I certainly didn’t go through any of the steps I advise my clients to take! So I have recently spent a lot of time and energy on the business – looking at systems which support my way of working and reduce the time I need to spend at my desk. I also continued the momentum which started in January this year with my PDC and HDM study, and really looked into who I am and what impact I want to make – how I exist with my business and how that exists within the world. It led me to a rebrand, which I have just launched. So for the rest of the year I will be continuing to get my systems in place, and become more routine in the way I work. And now that I have something I can be proud of, I’ll be promoting the brand a bit more.

I have also been working hard to develop relationships with local government bodies and other organisations who have access to funds to support grassroots organisations, and so I will be delivering some workshops called Business Fundamentals for Grassroots Organisations over the next few months. I have teamed up with my dear friend and fellow permie Jo Smith (Naturally Well with Jo, and Bruny Island Market Garden) and we are running a ‘Living with Purpose’ workshop too – that should be great fun.

And last but not least, I have a Permablitz I’m helping out with in October, and my husband Andrew and I will be starting to roll out the permaculture plan I created for our own space. It will be a slow process, and Small and Slow Solutions is the principle I struggle the most with, but we make a great team so I’m sure we will get the balance right.

For more information:

Check out Bonnie via her Website,  Facebook and Instagram. PA members are able to access a generous 10% discount on services from Bonnie too – log into the PA website to find out more.

Bonnie is a Professional member of Permaculture Australia, the national permaculture member organisations. You can find out more, including how to sign up today, here.

The Good Life – with Hannah Moloney

The Good Life – with Hannah Moloney

Photo credit: PA member Natalie Mendham

I love permaculture because it doesn’t just highlight what’s wrong in the world, but it provides the tools for us to craft genuinely new  solutions for how we could move forward to create the world of our dreams that’s good for everyone, not just for our individual selves. ” Hannah Moloney

PA’s Kym spoke with PA member Hannah Moloney, Good Life Permaculture about her new book, radical hope, living the Good Life in lutrawita / Tasmania and the busy time she’d have doing great things as Prime Minister of Australia for a week!

Thanks for chatting with me Hannah. How did you get into permaculture and how do you think it can address some of the challenges our society is facing?

I’m originally from sunny Kurilpa, Meanjin (West End, Brisbane) and the youngest of five wildly different kids. I grew up on a quirky herb nursery my Dad ran while Mum worked as a Research Librarian at The Native Title Tribunal. By default I absorbed a strong sense of social and environmental justice which has undoubtedly helped shape me into who I am today. Having grown up in a herb nursery (not a permaculture garden) in a rather alternative community the word permaculture was often flitted around. I think I first saw Bill Mollison speak at an organic fair when I was 17 years old. But it wasn’t until I was travelling Australia  when I was 18 and met Annemarie and Graham Brookman at the legendary Food Forest in South Australia that I really learned what it was. Their holistic approach to farming and living hit home with me and I *got it* – deep down in my heart I went “yessssssssss”.

For the next few years after meeting them I was mostly involved in front line activism helping to defend old growth forests in lutruwita / Tasmania. But at some point I looked at myself and knew that I was sad and approaching activism the wrong way for me personally. There’s many different ways to be an activist and my big learning in that time of my life was finding out how I could be an activist forever. That’s when I pivoted and focused 100% on permaculture and community work. I see permaculture as a form of positive activism that addresses all the big challenges of our time.

Many people still don’t realise it’s not just about gardening/farming – permaculture is a holistic design framework that can be applied to anything – including urban planning, the building industry, education, health and wellbeing  and the climate emergency to name a few things. “

Congratulations on your first book – exciting! How did you come to write a book & what was your inspiration?

Thanks! I was incredibly fortunate to be approached by Affirm Press who suggested I write a book. While flattered, I was very hesitant as there’s so many books already – do we really need more? The short answer is yes, we need more story telling of meaningful and positive ways to move through our world. Right now we’re being bombarded by either a denialist and/or negative narrative around climate change. My book is part of a broader movement in reclaiming that narrative and grounding it in reality (can’t dodge the sobering facts) while drenching it in radical hope. Radical hope is the act of living with optimism and courage in the face of the huge uncertainty that is the climate emergency. 

Tell us more about your book – what do you hope folks will take away from reading it and importantly the action they’ll take?

My book answers the question “how to live a good life in the face of the climate emergency”. I draw on my own life as a practical example – but for the first time ever I step into my vulnerability and share my personal experience in coming to terms with our world and my small place in it. It hasn’t been easy. I also highlight other wonderful people and organisations across Australia doing incredible work in their homes, communities, for their whole regions and our country. I have two hopes for people reading my book. The first is that they learn about some of the effective initiatives already happening in Australia (there’s so many) and realise the solutions are already here, we just have to support them. My second hope is that readers remember that we have everything we need to bring about stunning transformation to create a just and safe world for all. Every single one of us ordinary humans are capable of doing extraordinary things when we apply ourselves. 

It’s been a challenging few years with bushfires, droughts and a global pandemic. If you were PM for a week, what changes would you implement to try and address some of these challenges or advocate for?

Oooo, I’d have a really busy week and;

  • Prioritise and centre First Nations engagement and wisdom. As a starting point, this would include adopting the Uluru Statement From the Heart
  • Legislate and regulate non-biased, responsible media as the norm to ensure people are not ingesting blatant misinformation. 
  • Introduce a quota in Australian government to ensure gender equality. This would include good detail about gender diverse people to ensure genuine inclusion.
  • Ban political donations from big industries to prevent corruption. 
  • Transition to 100% renewable energy which would involve closing all coal power plants justly which would include supporting the workers into new industries. 
  • Provide significant financial and technical support to farmers so they can transition towards methods in line with regenerative land management tailored for their context. 
  • Invest in well designed/built social housing that provides secure homes for people.
  • Invest in the arts to re-establish them as part of our country’s foundation of cultural expression and development. 

You are a long term member of PA (thank you!). Why are you a member/why is being a member of PA important? 

I’m a proud PA member as I love belonging to a national community of passionate people dedicated to doing good. It encourages me to strive to be better in my work and as a human, and connects me with people across the country for support, ideas and friendship. 

What else does 2021 hold for you and Good Life Permaculture?

Well, it’s been a big year – as well as our usual calendar of permaculture workshops and landscape design projects – I’m gearing up to launch my book into the world in September. This will coincide with me re-starting fun, educational weekly You Tube videos from my home/garden to share free skills with people and I’m trying my hardest to pull together a podcast based off my book for people to enjoy as well. Plus I’m excited about a new collaboration with dear friends Milkwood which will kick off later this year (watch this space).  But mostly I’m really hoping I can continue to soften into myself to get closer to reaching my full potential so I can do more good in the world – as far as I can tell this  requires a lot of courage and willingness to fail. But I’m going to have a crack! 

How can folks get a copy of your book? (and will there be a second or third! book coming too?)

You can find the book at your local bookstore or here online at Booktopia. You can also ask your local library to order it in. In terms of writing another book – I’d love to! But let’s give birth to book baby number one first and see how that rolls. 

More information:

Hannah is a and Co-Director of Good Life Permaculture based in lutrawita / Tasmania & guest presenter on Gardening Australia. You can follow the journey of Good Life Permaculture via their Instagram, Facebook and You Tube channel for heaps of great inspiration on growing food, implementing permaculture ethics & principles, and building community.

Hannah is a Permaculture Australia Professional member, the national permaculture member organisation and has completed a Diploma of Permaculture, You can find out more and sign up as a member here today, and join Hannah and hundreds of members across the globe who are advocating for permaculture solutions and positive change. Find out more information on VET Permaculture offerings, including the Diploma of Permaculture here.

How to become a teacher of accredited permaculture training

How to become a teacher of accredited permaculture training

“At the moment, very few permaculture teachers in Australia hold the qualifications to teach all accredited permaculture qualifications and only a few registered training organisations are offering the courses. We are experiencing a marked increase in interest in studying permaculture in the accredited system though and should do everything we can to accommodate these future students.

Are you interested in teaching accredited permaculture training? Martina Hoeppner holds a Diploma in Permaculture and a Certificate IV in Training & Assessment and teaches PDCs and Certificate III in Permaculture in Perth, Western Australia. She provides a great summary of accredited permaculture teaching below.

What is accredited permaculture training?

Accredited training for permaculture is fast gaining popularity in Australia, especially here in Western Australia. There are five levels of accredited permaculture training available. Certificates I and II are mainly taught at secondary education settings in the vocational education program. Over the last few years we have seen a decrease in students choosing to study horticulture and an increase in the uptake of alternative qualifications like permaculture. Western Australia currently has five schools teaching Certificate I and three offering Certificate II, with more teachers training to start their programs in 2022. Certificates III and IV as well as Diploma in Permaculture are taught directly through registered training organisations (RTOs), either face-to-face or online.

Currently six RTOs are offering permaculture qualifications in Australia. Skills Strategies International in Western Australia is the only one offering all levels of accredited permaculture qualifications. Permaculture Australia is aiming to increase this number. We project a considerable growth in interest from students, but one of obstacles to more accredited training is a shortage of qualified teachers.

So, how do you become a teacher for accredited permaculture training?

In short, every teacher needs to hold at least the qualification they would like to teach plus a generic Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. For Certificates I and II, a PDC is equivalent and sufficient to having done the qualification. Teachers wanting to teach either of these certificates in their school are required to do a PDC and have a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. While it is not required, it is advisable to do a Demonstrator Skill Set in Permaculture. As PDCs are not standardised or quality-monitored, the accredited skill set consisting of four units ensures a greater understanding of permaculture ethics, principles and practices. The skill set also familiarises the trainer with the accredited system of teaching and assessing. For Certificates III and above, the trainer must hold the same qualification, either through studying it or through Recognised Prior Learning (RPL).

Many permaculture teachers see the requirement to hold a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment as the biggest hurdle to becoming a teacher in the accredited training programs. Many RTOs offer this training in various forms. Whether full-time intense short courses, part-time or online training, there is a course to suit most learners. Certificates IV in Training and Assessment are not permaculture specific and every trainer in the accredited system needs to hold this qualification. The qualification teaches delivering training and assessing students fairly, with a big focus on teaching and assessing students with language, literacy or numeracy problems. While a big hurdle indeed, once a trainer holds this qualification, they can teach any other accredited unit or qualification they hold within the TAFE and VET sector.

At the moment, very few permaculture teachers in Australia hold the qualifications to teach all accredited permaculture qualifications and only a few registered training organisations are offering the courses. We are experiencing a marked increase in interest in studying permaculture in the accredited system though and should do everything we can to accommodate these future students.

Where can I study accredited permaculture training?

Skills Strategies International Pty Ltd in Western Australia

South Regional TAFE in Western Australia


Gold Standard Education Ltd Pty in Victoria

Byron Region Community College Inc

NutraChange Pty Ltd

More information:

Contact to find out more about the accredited permaculture education as a student or potential Registered Training Organisation interested in adding the qualification.