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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Warren Truss

2 May 2002

Prime Minister Announces First National Salinity Prize Winner

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss and Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today congratulated Western Australia's Lake Toolibin Salinity Management System on winning the inaugural $30,000 National Salinity Prize.

Prime Minister John Howard awarded the prize earlier today at a ceremony at Parliament House, Canberra. The National Salinity Prize recognises the outstanding efforts community and agency-based groups have made in battling salinity in the Lake Toolibin region, which is at the headwaters of the Blackwood River east of Narrogin in the Western Australian wheatbelt.

"Lake Toolibin Salinity Management System has put in place a range of integrated management practices to help protect the lake - an internationally recognised wetland - and improve the region's environmental and agricultural assets," they said. "With over 8 per cent of the local catchment severely affected by salinity, and another 24 per cent at high risk, Lake Toolibin and its surrounding ecosystems were in real danger."

The scheme used a range of innovative measures, including:

"The keys to the project's success have been its ability to win the support of local communities and landholders, its determination to find specific solutions for specific problems and the willingness to use the most appropriate engineering and scientific tools, including geophysics, remote sensing, computer modelling and ecological function analysis. The National Salinity Prize recognises in particular the innovative engineering approaches used.

"Salinity is a major problem in Australia, and it not only affects agriculture and the environment but, increasingly, infrastructure such as roads, pipes, public buildings, homes and machinery in both rural and metropolitan areas.

"The Coalition, through its National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, and a range of other initiatives, is tackling the problem head-on. We also applaud the Institution of Engineers for initiating this important new prize and welcome the efforts of Australia's engineers to find workable and lasting solutions to the problem of salinity."

The National Salinity Prize is sponsored by the Institution of Engineers Australia, the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality and the Murray Darling Basin Commission, and attracted 32 high-quality entries in this its first year. The judging panel was drawn from the three sponsors and received advice from the State hydrology panels of the Institution of Engineers.

Media contacts:
Mr Truss's office   Tim Langmead   (02) 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433
Dr Kemp's office   Catherine Job   (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia