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Senator The Hon Robert Hill
Minister for the Environment
and HeritageThe Hon Warren Truss MP
Minister for the Agriculture, Fisheries
An extensive independent review commissioned by the Government into its $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust has confirmed its outstanding contribution to the conservation, sustainable use and repair of Australia's environment.
The mid-term review consists of 29 separate reports containing over 600 individual recommendations. They were released today by The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, and the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Robert Hill.
"The Natural Heritage Trust has generated a level of genuine commitment to the environment unheard of anywhere else world. It provides the basis for even greater success in the future, coupled with the information and knowledge gained from this review," the Ministers said.
The purpose of the mid-term review was to assess progress and identify ways the Trust might be improved. In responding to the review, Ministers:
The Natural Heritage Trust is the largest ever commitment by a Federal Government to helping communities improve their environment at local, catchment and regional levels.
Since first established in 1996 it has provided funded more than 6,000 projects valued at nearly $700 million. The vast majority of projects are in rural and regional Australia, where issues of biodiversity, land, water and native vegetation improvement are fundamental to the future health of Agriculture and rural lifestyles.
The Ministers said the reviews concluded that the Trust has been most successful raising awareness of environmental problems and empowering communities to act.
They thanked the thousands of Australians who have given their time and efforts to improving Australia's precious natural heritage.
"The Natural Heritage Trust has created unique partnerships between community, industry and all levels of government, establishing working links between environmental protection, natural resource management and sustainable agriculture.
"The Government thanks the many individuals and community groups who contributed," the Ministers said.
The review is available online at: www.nht.gov.au/review/index.html
Some examples of Natural Heritage Trust projects funded over the past four years are attached.
Andrew Hall (Minister Truss) 02 6277 7520 or 0419 996 766
Rod Bruem (Minister Hill) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364