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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
&
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Warren Truss

11 October 2002

States Need to Get on with the Job on NHT


Federal Environment minister Dr David Kemp and Federal Agriculture Minister Warren Truss today rejected suggestions by several State Governments that the Coalition's Natural Heritage Trust funding had been reduced.

“NHT1 - which started with a balance of $1.3 billion - has provided $1.5 billion for NHT projects to the end of September, with $300 million in remaining funds,” Dr Kemp said.

“This has been an extraordinary outcome for the states.”

Mr Truss said the Commonwealth had now committed a further $1 billion over the next five years to implement a new NHT program - NHT2.

“It is ridiculous to suggest that there is a reduced Commonwealth commitment, we are putting in another billion dollars,” Mr Truss said.

Dr Kemp said in this transitional year from the old NHT program to the new-look NHT2, more than $80 million is being spent in the States this year that was committed by the Commonwealth last year.

“This carryover in NHT1 funding is being topped up by NHT2 funds so that this year $250 million is available, including $20 million for Envirofund projects in the States and $73 million on national and Commonwealth projects.”

Mr Truss said the Commonwealth will invest more than $1.4 billion in the Trust, including interest, to spend over five years and it would deliver that funding.

“We are providing another $250 million in 2003-04 and another $310 million in 2004-05.”

The Ministers said the NHT funding came on top of the new National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality involving joint funding of $1.4 billion over five years.

Dr Kemp urged the states to focus on ensuring money flowed to worthwhile projects.

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

Commonwealth of Australia