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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
&
Federal Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation
Senator Ian Macdonald

7 May 2003

$6.7 Million for Environmental Drought Recovery Projects


Drought-affected communities will be able to undertake major on-ground environmental work thanks to $6.7 million from the Howard Government through the Australian Government Envirofund, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald said today.

A total of $6,747,080 has been approved for 381 projects across Australia in the second round of a special drought recovery funding round of the Envirofund. This follows $3.3 million in priority drought recovery funding for 164 projects announced in March.

"This special round of funding involves grants of up to $30,000 for community groups to carry out on-ground environmental work in drought-affected areas, some of which is already underway as well as new projects that are about to start," Dr Kemp said.

"These successful projects are aimed at protecting and rehabilitating the local environment affected by the drought. Grants approved include $1000 to repair and stabilise erosion on Cox's Creek on the NSW-Queensland border; $19,728 to muster and remove feral camels north east of Alice Springs which are causing damage to ecologically sensitive mulga woodlands, grasslands and sand dune ecosystems; and $30,000 to reduce the impact of weeds in the Bunya Mountains foothills in south-east Queensland and regenerate the area with native plants."

The $10 million drought recovery round is part of the popular Envirofund program, which is the community component of the Howard Government's $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust. The drought recovery round of the Envirofund is one element of a $900 million package of measures introduced by the Howard Government to help drought-affected Australian communities.

"The drought recovery round is an unprecedented initiative introduced by the Howard Government, which recognises the importance of protecting Australia's environment from severe drought conditions. Not only will this initiative help protect our precious natural resources, it will help protect the long-term productivity of rural land," Dr Kemp said.

Senator Macdonald said the Envirofund drought recovery round was an excellent example of the Federal Government and local communities working in partnership to overcome the harsh effects of the drought on the environment.

"Encouragingly, applications were received not only from groups seeking to maintain and build upon their existing on-ground work but from a large number of new community groups working in partnership with the Natural Heritage Trust for the first time," Senator Macdonald said.

"With funding from the drought recovery round, land managers are fencing off waterways from livestock to protect them from damage and erosion; introducing sustainable grazing practices to promote ground cover, reduce erosion and weed invasion; protecting coastal vegetation; and minimising the threat of drought-induced wildfires and firestorms. These are just a few examples of the wide range of drought projects funded.

"Applications for grants under the Drought Recovery Round were very competitive and of a very high standard. The successful applicants are to be commended for their outstanding efforts and we look forward to seeing the results of their hard work."

The next general round of Envirofund will be announced this Friday with applications closing 5pm, Friday 4 July 2003. For application forms, phone 1800 065 823 or visit www.nht.gov.au. Details of Envirofund projects are available by visiting www.nht.gov.au/projects.

Media Contacts:
Catherine Job (Dr Kemp's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Phil Connole (Senator Macdonald's office) 02 6277 7270 or 0417 063 605


Project Examples

A full list of successful projects in each state that are receiving funding through the special Drought Recovery Round of the Australian Government Envirofund is available on the Natural Heritage Trust web site at www.nht.gov.au/projects

Some examples from each state are:

New South Wales

Victoria


South Australia

Western Australia

Queensland

Australian Capital Territory

Northern Territory

Tasmania

Commonwealth of Australia