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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp
Federal Member for Gippsland
The Hon. Peter McGauran

8 July 2003

Gippsland Environment on the Way to Recovery

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today commended local Gippsland communities and landholders for their massive effort in rehabilitating and conserving the region's environment with the help of over $26 million in Federal funding over the last three years.

Dr Kemp today toured the Gippsland region - namely the Latrobe Valley - to discuss greenhouse issues with the coal industry and natural resource management with local councils and regional catchment management groups. He was joined by Federal Member for Gippsland, Peter McGauran.

"Today's tour provided a very impressive insight into the high standard of on-ground environmental work carried out by local community and environment groups, landholders, businesses and industry over the past three years. This work is delivering real results which is what the Howard Government's $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust is all about," Dr Kemp said.

"The Gippsland region is home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Australia, including the Alpine, Tarra-bulga and Morwell National Parks, and productive agricultural land. This is why programs funded by the Trust, such as the Envirofund, are so popular because they provide local communities with the funding to carry out necessary and important rehabilitation and conservation work."

For example, Dawson Landcare Group - backed with strong community partnerships and a share of almost $2 million in Trust funding - has successfully restored a section of the Thomson River, reduced river bank erosion and improved local biodiversity. Other works, such as tree planting, fencing off habitat and weed control, were carried out in the Lake Wellington Catchment which includes Avon, La Trobe and Perry Rivers.

"This Trust funding was matched by cash and in-kind support valued at $2.94 million which includes $260,000 from Edison Mission Energy and $820,000 from the Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment," Mr McGauran said.

"This does not take into account the thousands of hours dedicated to these projects by volunteers, including members of the Lake Wellington Catchment Landcare Network and the West Gippsland Catchment Authority."

In the last three years, the Gippsland region has benefited from:

"These achievements are indicative of how effective the Natural Heritage Trust, and other community-based programs introduced by the Howard Government have been in regional and rural areas," Dr Kemp said.

"Together, the $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust and the $1.4 billion National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality are the largest commitment to the environment by any Australian Government."

Commonwealth of Australia