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Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
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5 April 2002
Balcombe Park Reserve
Melbourne as you all know is one of the world's most livable cities. A city showcasing wonderful heritage architecture and a vibrant cosmopolitan community.
One of the important characteristics, for me, is the quality of its natural landscape.
While much of Melbourne's natural landscape has been lost or changed, there remain many areas of natural vegetation providing important habitat and ecosystem services.
The existence of these areas are in large part due to the effort of individuals and communities, operating in partnership with organisations such as Greening Australia.
Their work, such as revegetating existing bushland, restoring remnants along waterways and improving coastal habitat is vitally important.
Activities like these under the Urban Bushcare Project help prevent any further degradation of these areas.
It is therefore with a great deal of satisfaction that the Commonwealth continues to support the continuation of this Project through the Natural Heritage Trust.
The Urban Bushcare Project has been very efficient in providing small grants to the community, to carry out important remnant protection and revegetation works.
Groups such as the Friends of Balcombe Park are critically important to such a project and I commend them for their commitment and good work.
The Urban Bushcare Project has had a successful association with the Natural Heritage Trust. In its first two years from 1999 it received $656,000 for 123 on-ground activities. I am pleased that Greening Australia have been successful in securing funding of $311,900 for 67 sites as part of the project's third stage.
On a wider front, the Natural Heritage Trust is playing a significant role in natural resource management across Victoria. The Commonwealth Government has funded 1,975 Victorian projects at a cost of $230 million over the life of the Trust. This investment can be multiplied many times over when contributions from partners are included - namely that of individuals, community groups and local and state government.
The investment of a further billion dollars nationally through the extension of the Natural Heritage Trust and $1.4 billion - jointly funded by the Commonwealth and the States for the National Action Plan on Salinity and Water Quality will build further on the impressive achievements of the Trust.
While the extension of the Natural Heritage Trust focuses on regional delivery, the Government will continue to provide support for communities through the Natural Heritage Trust's local action grants, the Australian Government Envirofund which I announced earlier this week.
I congratulate all of the individuals and community groups, local government and Greening Australia who have contributed to the success of this Urban Bushcare project.
I am sure that its implementation will to provide further significant benefits towards preserving and restoring Melbourne's natural landscape.