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Natural Heritage Trust

Joint Statement by
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Robert Hill, and
The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss

16 October 2000

NSW COMMUNITIES GET MORE NATURAL HERITAGE TRUST FUNDS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL WORKS


Community groups throughout New South Wales will benefit significantly from additional funding from the Federal Government's $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

Federal Environment Minister, Robert Hill, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister, Warren Truss, said they had approved $42.3 million for 782 projects in New South Wales for 2000-2001.

The Trust's initial funding is just the first step in the process, generating an enormous amount of in-kind support throughout communities.

"This is the fourth year the Trust has funded community groups for on-ground works with the dual goals of sustainable agriculture and conservation of Australia's unique biological diversity," the Ministers said.

"Success of the Natural Heritage Trust depends heavily on strong community involvement in identifying local environmental and natural resource management problems, developing local solutions and getting on with the job with a minimum of government interference.

"We are delighted with the commitment that local communities are demonstrating through Trust-funded projects already being undertaken, and with the number of new applications. This clearly demonstrates the success of the Government's approach in helping communities to address their local issues.

The Ministers said the quality and number of community applications for Trust funding was a massive endorsement of the Trust and built on the results achieved in the first three years of its operation.

These achievements in New South Wales involved more than 85,000 community members and included the planting of more than 745,000 seedlings, native vegetation works on more than 190,000 hectares of land and 76,000km of protective fencing.

These works have contributed to the conservation and enhancement of a range of threatened flora and fauna including Gould's Petrel, with the number of fledglings since the outset of the work up from 50 to 450 a year, and the Soft Geebung (Persoonia mollis subsp.Maxima) up from five individual plants to 160.

"Many community groups have reapplied for further funding and have provided excellent models for new groups committed to working for a better environment," the Ministers said.

Further information: Andrew Hall 0419 996 766 or 02 6277 7520

Commonwealth of Australia