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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

Commonwealth Funding Boost of Over $3.5 Million for Victoria's Environment


Thanks to $20 million from the Natural Heritage Trust's Australian Government Envirofund, thousands of Australian volunteers, including many Victorians, are again joining forces with the Commonwealth Government, tackling local environmental problems at their source.

The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and the Federal Minister for Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald, today announced approval of the first round of annual funding from the Australian Government Envirofund, including over $3.5 million for 243 projects in Victoria.

"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."

In Victoria the Australian Government Envirofund is supporting a range of on-ground actions to address local environmental and natural resource problems, including protective fencing, revegetation, weed and feral animal control and community education. These works will help protect threatened Australian species such as the Orange-bellied Parrot and address problem weeds such as willows.

For example, the Upper Murray Catchment Farm Tree Group is receiving over $26,000 to construct stock excluding fences, revegete with native species such as eucalypt and acacia and undertake community education in the Cudgewa, Koetong, and Burrowye catchments. These important actions will help these catchments, which are suffering from erosion, soil acidity, salinity, gully destabilisation and sedimentation.

Also in this first round of funding, the Millewa Carwap Landcare Group is receiving over $20,000 to improve wildlife and vegetation corridors between remnants on private land, roadsides and reserves, protecting and enhancing the vegetation of Yarrara Ridge and the species that depend on these habitats. On-ground activities as part of the project include erecting protective fencing and revegetating with native species.

"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 valuable 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 more than 12,000 projects funded through the Howard Government's Natural Heritage Trust," Senator Macdonald said.

"These projects have already 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 congratulated Victorian 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 Victoria 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 further information on projects funded by the Australian Government Envirofund in Victoria, and related photos, please visit the Natural Heritage Trust web site at: http://www.nht.gov.au/projects

Media contacts:
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

Related Information


Fact Sheet
Keast Park, Seaford Foreshore Reserve

The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today announced $20 million of Australian Government Envirofund grants at Keast Park, located at the northern end of the Seaford Foreshore Reserve on Melbourne’s bayside.

Keast Park is a popular recreation area behind the coastal dunes of a safe swimming beach. However the coastal dunes and remnant vegetation found in the area are extremely fragile ecosystems and require protection from threats such as introduced plants and animals. Foxes and feral cats prey on native wildlife, while weeds compete with native vegetation for habitat.

To date, the Federal Government, through the Natural Heritage Trust, has provided over $29,000 to fund five environmental projects in the Seaford area, two of which were coordinated by the Friends of Seaford Foreshore Reserve group. In addition, the group received a grant of $3430 to protect the area through the Trust-funded Urban Bushcare project, coordinated by Greening Australia.

The Friends of Seaford Foreshore Reserve group was formed in 1992 to help restore and maintain the natural state of the area. Dr Kemp today announced the group will receive $4725 from the Australian Government Envirofund to undertake a project at Keast Park foreshore.

This funding will enable the Keast Park fore dune to be revegetated with 1000 plants, the erection of protective fencing to control foot traffic and weed control activities at an adjacent site to control coastal weeds.

The Seaford Foreshore Reserve is a 4.6 kilometre coastal strip of beach and remnant vegetation, approximately 50 hectares in area. The Reserve is bounded by the Nepean Highway to the east and Port Phillip Bay to the west.

In 1873, the Seaford Foreshore Reserve was permanently reserved for public purposes, and re-reserved in 1987 for the purposes of conservation of an area of natural interest and public recreation. Since 1937, the area has been managed by a Committee of Management.

The Reserve is the only intact remnant of coastal foreshore vegetation on the eastern side of Port Phillip Bay. It has been described as an island of native vegetation in an essentially urban area. The Keast Park area comprises 2.5 hectares and is a popular recreation spot for the local community.

Three main vegetation communities dominate the Reserve: Coastal Banksia, Coastal Scrub and Coastal Grassland. Species such as Tea-Tree, Coast Wattle, Coastal Daisy Bush, Hairy Spinifex and Blue Tussock Grass can be found within these communities, as well as other significant plant species such as Trim Greenhood, Maroonhood and Mosquito Orchids.

The area provides important habitat for native fauna, notably birds and reptiles.

Over 117 bird species have been recorded within the Seaford Foreshore Reserve, 14 of which have been observed nesting and breeding. These species include the Eastern Yellow Robin and the Yellow Thornbill. Many of the birds found in the area are migratory species and use the reserve to nest and feed.

Studies have found that the lizard density in the Reserve is amongst the highest in the Melbourne and Mornington Peninsula areas. White’s Skink and the Delicate Skink are among a number of reptile species found in the area.

(Background information was sourced with permission from the Frankston City Council web site at: http://www.frankston.vic.gov.au)

Commonwealth of Australia