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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Federal Minister for Forestry and Conservation
Senator Ian Macdonald
8 November 2002
Thousands of Australian volunteers will be participating in environmental protection works across Australia thanks to $20 million from the Howard Government's Australian Government Envirofund, the community component of the $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust.
The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp and the Federal Minister for Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald, today announced the first round of annual funding under the Australian Government Envirofund for 1,324 projects across Australia.
"The Howard Government is committed to supporting local communities in their efforts to develop local solutions to local environmental challenges," Dr Kemp said.
"This is what the Australian Government Envirofund is all about - directly funding local community groups, harnessing their local knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm to deliver on-ground results.
"The environment is everybody's business," Dr Kemp said. "By funding small local projects, the Australian Government Envirofund is showing us we can all do our bit and make a real difference in protecting and enhancing our local environment and natural resources.
"Projects funded by the Australian Government Envirofund range from improving water quality and environmental condition in our river systems and wetlands, to reversing land degradation around Australia, from conserving and restoring habitat for our unique native flora and fauna to protecting our coastal catchments, ecosystems and marine environments.
"It is encouraging to see that the Australian Government Envirofund has attracted applications not only from groups seeking to maintain and build upon their existing on-ground works, but that a significant number of new community groups are joining with the Commonwealth to protect our environment.
"In fact, 42 per cent of groups receiving funding this year have not received Natural Heritage Trust funding before," Dr Kemp said.
Senator Macdonald said the first round of projects supported by the Australian Government Envirofund continues the work of the Natural Heritage Trust - the largest environmental rescue effort ever delivered by any Australian Government.
"To date, almost 400,000 Australian volunteers have been involved in over 12,000 projects funded through the Howard Government's Natural Heritage Trust," Senator Macdonald said.
"These projects have achieved significant on-ground outcomes, including the planting of over 26 million seedlings, the protection of 7,730 square kilometres of native vegetation and the erection of 36,000 kilometres of protective fencing along our waterways.
"The Howard Government is committed to continuing this important work, allocating an extra $1 billion from consolidated revenue to extend the Natural Heritage Trust and the Australian Government Envirofund for a further five years beyond 2002," Senator Macdonald said.
The Ministers also congratulated Australian community groups on the quality and number of applications for Australian Government Envirofund funding.
"The community response to the Australian Government Envirofund has been overwhelming and highlights the success of the Natural Heritage Trust in developing community partnerships and delivering environmental benefits," the Ministers said.
"We congratulate the successful groups throughout Australia for their outstanding efforts and look forward to seeing the results of all their hard work."
The Australian Government Envirofund is the new community focused component of the Howard Government's Natural Heritage Trust. Through the Australian Government Envirofund, community groups can apply for grants from a few hundred dollars up to $30,000 to carry out on-ground actions to target local problems such as water quality, protection of native vegetation, salinity and coastal erosion.
For examples of projects funded by the Australian Government Envirofund in each state and related photos, please visit the Natural Heritage Trust web site at http://www.nht.gov.au/projects
Catherine Job Dr Kemp's office (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Kelly Stevens Senator Macdonald's office (02) 6277 7270 or 0405 191 732