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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

20 March 2002

$2.56 Billion for Regional Plans Under NHT-2

The next phase of the $2.56 billion Natural Heritage Trust (NHT); to be launched later this month, will involve a transition period for on-ground facilitators and coordinators, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss and the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, announced today.

"It is essential that the contribution made by facilitators and coordinators in key rural and regional community support networks, such as Landcare, is not lost in the transition from the first to the second phase of the Natural Heritage Trust," the Ministers said.

Under transitional arrangements, initial funding will be provided for up to 650 full time equivalent facilitator and coordinator positions during 2002-03.

"NHT-2 will continue to fund a wide range of conservation and environmental projects but will place a stronger emphasis on regional plans with projects being coordinated within the regions," the Ministers said.

The Ministers said the Federal Government recognises the importance of this support, which helps the community in project planning and implementation. In the next phase of the Trust, these positions will play a vital role in assisting the community to move towards regional natural resource management.

"The States and Territories will be invited to submit proposals for Landcare and other community support positions. In addition, many facilitator positions for existing programs such as Coastcare, Bushcare and Waterwatch will continue to at least June 2003," they said.

While the current structure of the community support networks will change, the government will ensure the new arrangements meet community requirements.

"Preference will be given to those local support positions which have direct contact with community groups and which are supported by the community. As usual, a cash or in-kind matching contribution will apply. This support network will complement the States' and Territories' responsibility to provide technical and administrative support," the Ministers said.

"The focus of activity will be to enable community input into the development and implementation of regional plans, to encourage community involvement with regional bodies and participation in the delivery of the local action grants."

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

Commonwealth of Australia