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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
26 February 2002
Local communities can start work immediately on projects they have identified as priorities after the first $15,840,740 in funding for Victoria from the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality was announced today.
The Federal Minister for Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Warren Truss announced the successful projects today.
Under the National Action Plan, joint funding from the Commonwealth and Victoria will see more than $304 million flow to the State's rural communities over the next seven years for work to tackle salinity and water quality.
Dr Kemp said six catchment management authorities (CMAs) in Victoria's four National Action Plan priority regions are receiving a total of $10,705,000 for 'foundation funding'.
"In recognition of the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all answer, the funding will help communities develop unique regional plans for accreditation by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments," Dr Kemp said.
"These grassroots-up strategies cover a range of natural resource management issues in each region and are the basis for most decisions about funding for the National Action Plan.
"Key activities for CMA's in Victoria's four priority regions include a review of existing plans, filling information gaps and developing baseline data, vegetation and biodiversity mapping and encouraging community involvement," Dr Kemp said.
Mr Truss said over $3.1million has been approved for six community-targeted works to reduce salinity, improve water quality and benefit biodiversity.
"These projects have been selected because they have been identified as priorities by the communities themselves, not politicians or bureaucrats, and work can begin on them straight away.
"A further $250,000 has been allocated for projects across Victoria to help determine further priority areas for salinity and water quality control and tree plantings, and to make sure there is local government recognition of the community catchment plans," Mr Truss said.
The Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment will also implement a range of other statewide projects, worth $1.75 million.
The four priority regions and six CMAs targeted by the National Action Plan in Victoria are:
Details of the first round of projects for Victoria funded by the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality are attached.
More information on the National Action Plan is available at: www.affa.gov.au/actionsalinityandwater
1. Project: Review of Operations of the Corangamite Region Drainage and Diversion Scheme. Recipient: Corangamite Catchment Management Authority. Funding: $171,600. Region: Glenelg - Corangamite.
The Western District Lakes include areas of important species habitat, with Lake Corangamite part of a Ramsar-listed wetland. Under the Woady Yaloak and the Lough Calvert diversion and drainage schemes, water from the Corangamite basin is diverted to the Barwon River. However information collected over recent years suggests that this inter-basin transfer is detrimental to Lake Corangamite, Lake Colac and the Barwon River.
The project will review the impact of the diversion schemes and recommend management options, subject to extensive community consultation. The expected outcomes of the project will be community supported management options for the diversion and drainage schemes with multiple benefits for the environment and rural industry.
2. Project: Strategically Combating Waterway Degradation in the Wimmera. Recipient: Wimmera Catchment Management Authority. Funding: $600,591. Region: Lower Murray.
The health of waterways in the Wimmera region is being severely affected by chemical pollutants, nutrients and sediments. The Wimmera Regional Catchment Strategy has placed a high priority on strategic and coordinated on-ground remedial works.
This project will enable the development of management plans for priority sub-catchments, expected to include stream-bank and bed stabilisation (to address erosion and sediment deposition), fencing of riparian zones, managing livestock access, revegetation and natural regeneration. Landholders will be engaged through an incentives program incorporating a devolved grants scheme for works in targeted priority sub-catchments. The plans will ensure that on-ground works in the Wimmera, including for the Ramsar-listed Lake Albacutya, are focussed, coordinated, based on best management approaches to achieve optimal outcomes.
3. Project: Accelerating Salinity, Water Quality and Biodiversity Outcomes in the Upper Goulburn Area. Recipient: Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority. Funding: $800,000. Region: Goulburn Brokenn.
This is a broad-ranging proposal developed by the Upper Goulburn Broken Implementation Committee to address salinity, water quality and biodiversity outcomes. The project will include: promoting local area planning, soil stabilisation and bank protection works, revegetation and forestry activities, fencing sensitive areas, weed control, upgrading road stream crossings, bioregional planning (i.e. bringing together all biodiversity data to identify priority areas for protection and enhancement at a local landscape scale), review and assess plantation viability in the sub-catchment, and integrate catchment research issues.
These proposed activities are derived overwhelmingly from existing plans or strategies, with the project involving an acceleration of existing programs such as the Waterways Management Grants and the Environmental Management Grants programs. The Upper Goulburn delivers some 80 per cent of the annual dryland salt load, or 224,000 tonnes, from the Goulburn Broken catchment. It is intended that plantings of both perennials and annuals on recharge areas will reduce this. Overall water quality will be improved by reducing nutrient contribution to the rest of the catchment through waterways and drainage works, revegetation and improving farm water-use efficiency.
Specific activities to enhance biodiversity will include protection of remnant vegetation and revegetation, guided by priorities identified in the bioregional plans. Downstream users, particularly, will benefit from reduced salt flows from the upper Goulburn Broken sub catchment, with a potential increase in the value of agricultural production.
4. Project: Moorabool River Catchment Project. Recipient: Corangamite Catchment Management Authority. Funding: $350,000. Region: Glenelg - Corangamite.
Moorabool River has been identified as one of the most stressed rivers in Victoria. A series of on-stream storages result in little or no flow at the lower end of the catchment in the summer months. This proposal addresses key actions in the Moorbool River Stream Flow Management Plan, part of a key Statewide initiative to meet Victoria's commitments under the COAG Water Reform Framework.
The proposal will investigate options for improving environmental flows in the Moorabool River by confirming the sustainable diversion limits for winter and summer flows; investigating the size, structural integrity and environmental value of on-stream storages and investigating options for modification of on-stream storages. There is potential to lower or remove weirs in the lower reaches.
The proposal will revegetate priority reaches on Sutherlands Creek and Moorabool River. The proposal also addresses actions identified in the Corangamite Regional Nutrient Management Plan and the Corangamite Regional Salinity Strategy. Priority reaches for revegetation have been identified in the draft Corangamite Waterway Health Strategy, Native Vegetation Plan and the Regional Nutrient Management Plan.
5. Project: Targeted works in the mid-Goulburn Broken Catchment. Recipient: Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority. Funding: $703,850. Region: Goulburn Broken.
This is a broad-ranging proposal developed by the Mid Goulburn Broken Implementation Committee which addresses salinity, water quality and biodiversity outcomes. The project will include: the promotion of Whole Farm Planning, soil stabilisation and bank-protection works, revegetation and forestry activities, fencing of sensitive areas, weed control, establishment of two urban wetlands, bioregional planning (i.e. bringing together all biodiversity data to identify priority areas for protection and enhancement at a local landscape scale), review and assessment of plantation viability in the catchment, and local area planning.
Activities that form part of this proposal are derived overwhelmingly from existing plans or strategies. The proposal involves an acceleration of existing programs such as the Waterways Management Grants and the Environmental Management Grants programs. There are more than 5,000ha of saline land in the dryland catchment, and that is growing at about 5 per cent a year. The amount of salt leaving the catchment will be reduced by increasing the amount of water use by perennial and annual vegetation in recharge areas.
Overall water quality will be improved by reducing the nutrient contribution to the rest of the catchment through waterway and drainage works, revegetation and improving farm water-use efficiency. Specific activities to enhance biodiversity include protection of remnant vegetation and revegetation, guided by priorities identified in the Bioregional Plans.
6. Project: Development of Sustainable Farming Systems in Partnership with Rural Communities. Recipient: North Central Catchment Management Authority. Funding: $510,000. Region: Avoca-Loddon-Campaspe.
Dryland salinity and decline in water quality and biodiversity pose significant threats to land and water condition in the Loddon, Avoca and Avon-Richardson river catchments. Continuing decline in water quality in these catchments has the potential to precipitate widespread land salinisation, a decline in water quality for agricultural and domestic use and is a direct and on-going threat to rural towns, important infrastructure and natural ecosystems including Ramsar-listed wetlands. This is the first (information gathering and planning) phase of a two-phase, five-year project that targets salinity and water quality problems in identified high-priority sub-catchments.
The outcomes of this phase will be: boundary definition of priority sub-catchments; assessment of treatment options and research and monitoring needs; assessing funding and cost-sharing mechanisms; property audits to assess resource condition, environmental and cultural assets; developing land use change guidelines that incorporate cost sharing; community consultation and forming community-based project steering committees; developing a communication strategy; whole farm planning and farm business planning; benchmarking current land use and land use practices; identifying information, skill and resource needs to facilitate the adoption of current best practice land use and developing investment cases for phase two implementation.
1.Project: Integrating Regional Catchment Planning and Local Government Planning. Recipient: Municipal Association of Victoria. Funding: $150,000.
Statutory planning requirements at the local level currently lack alignment and consistency with regional management frameworks. The coincidence of review processes for both Local Government Municipal Strategic Statements and Regional Catchment Strategies will provide an opportunity to better align these planning schemes. This is a collaborative Statewide project involving the Municipal Association of Victoria, the Victorian Catchment Management Council, priority region Catchment Management Authorities, water authorities, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Department of Infrastructure.
The outcomes of this will be: an analysis of catchment management issues in relation to municipal planning schemes; protocols for the integration of Regional Catchment Strategies and municipal planning schemes; and the review of Municipal Strategic Statements. Collaboration of planning and implementation between Local Governments and Catchment Management Authorities at a regional level will result in optimal outcomes for salinity management, biodiversity protection and water quality management.
The development of common goals for local planning processes will result in the incorporation of natural resource management, and in particular National Action Plan outcomes into the planning schemes of local councils, allowing an even greater impact to be achieved from future National Action Plan investment.
2.Project: Targeting Land for Salinity and Water Quality Control Plantings. Recipient: Department of Natural Resources and Environment. Funding: $100,000.
Information on vegetation on public and private land is key to understanding and integrating landscape processes and planning and priority setting approaches that are needed by the National Action Plan. At the catchment scale, the greatest impacts on salinity, water quality and biodiversity will derive from changing vegetation regimes on private land. A better planned approach to the design and development of vegetation cover across the State will assist in delivering optimal outcomes for salinity and water quality.
This project will: establish a valuation framework of existing native vegetation on private land; develop or use existing models to determine priority areas for planting that will have the greatest benefits for salinity and water quality and what type of plantings (i.e. private forestry, native vegetation or perennial pasture) and, develop a mechanism for integrating current and planned NAP targeting and prioritisation frameworks to direct third party investments in priority plantings. The project will provide base-line information for use with a modelling tool to indicate where treatment and remediation are a high priority.
This will enable the testing of salt-tolerant species in future years in the most important areas. This information will form the basis of long-term projects aimed at rehabilitating high-value salt-affected land.