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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

17 October 2000

VICTORIANS GET MORE NATURAL HERITAGE TRUST FUNDS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL WORKS


Community groups throughout Victoria 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 $39.58 million for 432 projects in Victoria for 2000-2001.

The successful Victorian projects were announced today in Tallarook near Seymour by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone.

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.

These achievements in Victoria involved nearly 90,000 community members and included the planting of over 2.4 million seedlings, effective weed management, where necessary to support a successful outcome, on over 65,000 hectares of land and over 1,900km of protective fencing, 1,480 of which to protect Victoria's waterways.

These works have contributed to the protection and enhancement of a range of threatened flora and fauna including the Mellbloms's Spider Orchid, with known flowering plants in the wild increasing 150 per cent and the Helmeted Honeyeater's captive breeding program producing a record number of fledglings.

"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: Belinda Huppatz 0419 258 364 or 02 6277 7640 or Michael Christo 0409 040 276

Commonwealth of Australia