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Joint Media Release
Dr David Kemp MP
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Warren Truss MP
Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
John Thwaites MP
Victorian Minister for Environment and Water
Bob Cameron MP
Victorian Minister for Agriculture

11 December 2003

$5.8 m to Tackle Natural Resource Action in the Wimmera

The Australian and Victorian Governments have committed $5.8 million to improving the Wimmera region's natural assets following Government approval of the Wimmera Regional Catchment Strategy.

Approval of the strategy and investment was announced jointly by the Australian Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister, Warren Truss, the Australian Environment and Heritage Minister, Dr David Kemp, the State Agriculture Minister, Bob Cameron, and the State Environment and Water Minister, John Thwaites.

About $5 million comes from the National Action Plan on Salinity and Water Quality and $818,000 from the Natural Heritage Trust funds.

Mr Truss said a new, strategic approach would reduce salinity and improve soil condition and water quality, adding to the sustainability of the region's primary production.

"Funding will be used to develop best practice farming systems, such as retaining vegetation and using better cropping techniques, to reduce the threat of salinity and soil erosion," Mr Truss said.

"The investment will also implement priority actions in the Wimmera Regional Salinity Action Plan to improve water quality in the Wimmera River and aid the sustainability of agriculture production."

Dr Kemp said the strategy outlined the community's vision of how to nurture the environment and allow agriculture and other industries to prosper and put the region at the forefront of natural resource management in Australia.

"The Regional Catchment Strategy has been used to develop a strategic and integrated package of activities with multiple benefits for plants and animals, productive land resources, waterways and wetlands" Dr Kemp said.

"More than $2 million will be spent on a suite of strategic activities including fencing to protect river banks from grazing, stabilising gullies and stabilising river and creek beds and banks to improve the condition of the Wimmera River, its tributaries and wetlands, including the nationally and internationally listed wetlands of Lake Hindmarsh and Lake Albacutya."

Mr Thwaites said investments would address the impacts on the unique and irreplaceable values of the native vegetation in the Wimmera area.

"The region has some rare plants and animals, but many, like the Red Tailed Black Cockatoo, are under threat as significant areas of native vegetation in which they feed and find homes, have been cleared," Mr Thwaites said.

"This investment gives effect to the regional catchment strategy's focus on protecting and rehabilitating the remaining vegetation to assist recovery of threatened species."

Mr Cameron said the strategy reiterated that replacing the Wimmera Mallee domestic and stock channel system with a pipeline network yielded important environmental and primary production benefits and was the region's most important natural resource management priority.

"Primary production from the Wimmera is worth about $700 million a year to the Victorian economy, with almost one-third of the Wimmera population depending directly on agriculture for their income," Mr Cameron said.

"This Regional Catchment Strategy will drive the community's vision for healthier landscapes and waterways in the Wimmera."

A summary of the Wimmera Regional Catchment Strategy is available at Information on the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority is available at For information on the National Action Plan on Salinity and Water Quality visit and for the Natural Heritage Trust visit

Investment for National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality and Natural Heritage Trust activities in the Wimmera region 2003-04

Contact: Greg Barber, Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, 03 5382 1544

NHT funds
NAP funds
Coordinate and monitor community capacity building
Communities and natural resource management industries support
Establishing biolinks and buffer zones along the waterways and wetland of the Wimmera River.
Managing pest plants and animals to minimise their impact on the Wimmera River assets.
Protecting our high value waterways, monitoring those at risk and restoring priority waterways.
Implementing sustainable water resource management and returning "natural" flow regimes to our waterways.
Improving our knowledge of contributors to poor water quality in the Wimmera River Basin.
Improving the water quality in our waterways and wetlands.
Increasing community awareness and understanding and building capacity to assist in improving the health of our waterways.
Strategic coordination of projects to improve waterway health
Piping the Wimmera Mallee Stock and Domestic System – environmental flow study
Undertaking salinity management actions in priority groundwater flow systems to reduce the decline in water quality in the Wetlands and Streams of the Wimmera River basin.
Encouraging sound riparian zone management to improve the health of the terminal lakes.
Managing the impacts of pest plants and animals on the terminal lakes
Planning for better management of the terminal lakes system.
Determining the natural flow regimes of the terminal lakes
Monitoring the health of the terminal lake system.
Improving the quality of the water entering the terminal lake systems.
Understanding the current condition of the wetlands and waterways in the Millicent Coast Basin and identifying the risks and threats and appropriate management action.
Implementing sound rural drainage management in the Millicent Coast Basin.
Understanding the environmental, economic and social benefits of improved flow regimes.
Minimising pest plant and animal impacts on the wetlands and waterways of the Millicent Coast Basin.
Priority wetland and waterway rehabilitation.
Water Quality Monitoring.
Researching the impacts of various land uses on the water quality entering our waterways and wetlands.
Supporting sound Local Government planning for improved water quality.
Undertaking salinity management actions in priority groundwater flow systems to reduce the decline in water quality
Promoting best practice in Wimmera soil management
Implementation of priority actions in the draft Wimmera Regional Salinity Action Plan
Development of Environmental Services Program for Wimmera Region.
Development of Farm Planning program that meets the needs of farmers and regional natural resource planning.
Provision of Geographical Information Services.
Decline in extent of native remnants
Need for coordinated remnant conservation
Regional NAP Co-ordination
Gaining a better understanding of the region's assets impacted by salinity and declining water quality through developing a strategic Digital Elevation Modelling information database
Commonwealth of Australia