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Joint Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
&

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss
&
Senator for the ACT, Senator Margaret Reid

20 September 2001

$855,000 ENVIRONMENT FUNDING BOOST FOR ACT COMMUNITY GROUPS


The Federal Coalition Government has guaranteed the ongoing environmental work of Australian Capital Territory community groups with more funding from the Federal Government's $2.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust announced today.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Warren Truss have approved $855,297 for 20 projects in the ACT for 2001-2002.

Senator Hill and ACT Liberal Senator Margaret Reid today announced the funding during a visit to Lake Tuggeranong College, where staff and students were presented with a certificate in recognition of Federal support for the Lakewatch Program.

The Lakewatch Program is an important project for the ACT environment and involves Lake Tuggeranong College staff and students monitoring lake water and undertaking remedial action and awareness-raising activities.

Other ACT projects involve coordinating catchment management group activities, enlarging and enhancing key vegetation patches and establishing buffers against encroaching development.

"It is an immense source of pride for the ACT that these local groups are contributing to the conservation of our environment and helping to provide a better future for our children," Senator for the ACT, Margaret Reid, said today.

"The groups who have received funding are to be commended for their work and this is fitting recognition in both a public and financial sense for their efforts."

To date, environmental action around Australia stimulated by Trust funding has involved close to half a million community members, the planting of over 29 million seedlings and better weed management.

In the ACT, important environmental work has taken place on more than 600 hectares of land, with more than 60km of fencing erected to protect vulnerable areas such as river banks. These works have contributed to better water quality and the conservation and enhancement of a range of threatened flora and fauna.

The Howard Government has committed an extra $1 billion to extend the Natural Heritage Trust for a further five years beyond 2002. The $1 billion funding boost will generate significant in-kind support throughout Australian Capital Territory communities, and is expected to generate at least $3 support in cash and kind for every Trust dollar contributed, as it has done since 1997.

"Once again the Trust focus is on funding community groups to undertake projects that contribute to sustainable agriculture and conserving Australia's unique biological diversity," the Ministers said.

"While Natural Heritage Trust funding is important, the strength of community involvement is critical in identifying local environmental and natural resource management problems, developing local solutions and getting the job done.

"In this International Year of Volunteers, we are delighted with the way in which local communities have embraced Trust-funded projects. It clearly demonstrates the success of the Federal Government's approach to helping communities address local issues."

The Ministers said the quality and number of community applications for Trust funding continued to endorse the Trust and built on the results achieved throughout the first four years.

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

Media contacts:
Senator Hill - Rachael Thompson 0417 265 289 or 02 6277 7640
Mr Truss - Yvonne Best 02 6277 7520
Senator Reid - Lisa McDonald 02 6277 3300 or 0409 446 864

Note: For examples of projects funded under the Trust in the Australian Capital Territory, please visit the Trust website at http://www.nht.gov.au/projects/exemplaries

See some images of the event (jpg format).

Commonwealth of Australia