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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Federal Minister for Fisheries Forestry and Conservation
Senator Ian Macdonald

12 February 2003

Envirofund Deadline Extended for People Affected by Bushfires

The Commonwealth Government today announced the deadline for funding applications under the Envirofund Drought Recovery Round has been extended for people directly affected by recent bushfires.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said people directly affected by the recent bushfires in all affected states now have until 7 March 2003 to apply.

Those eligible for the extension include fire fighters and people with property damage directly resulting from recent bushfires.

“Those not affected still need to submit their applications by 14 February,” Dr Kemp said. “The extension ensures that those who need help most, in the wake of the recent tragic bushfires, don’t miss out.”

The $10 million Commonwealth Envirofund Drought Recovery Round is a community component of the $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

This round of funding will help drought-stricken, and now fire ravaged communities manage environmental issues. Applications for drought funding from landholders in Exceptional Circumstances declared areas or those under consideration will be given priority.

Community groups or individuals can apply for up to $30,000 to help tackle local environmental and agricultural problems – some which have been exacerbated by drought and bushfire conditions – and develop local, effective solutions to address them.

“This funding encourages important on-ground activity by landholders and communities at a time when resources and the environment are vulnerable to degradation from bushfires and severe drought, and the capacity of the community to respond is severely limited,” Dr Kemp said.

“Examples of projects funded include waterway protection, erosion control, fencing off endangered vegetation and habitats from stock, and feral animal control to reduce grazing pressure and to protect native plant and animal life,” Dr Kemp said.

Federal Minister for Fisheries Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald, said the Drought Recovery Round continued the work of the Natural Heritage Trust – the largest environmental rescue effort ever delivered by any Australian Government.

“The $10 million Envirofund Drought Recovery Fund complements the Howard Government’s commitment to helping drought-affected communities where it has so far committed $368 million over three years in drought recovery measures,” Senator Macdonald said.

“To date, almost 400,000 Australian volunteers have been involved in over 12,000 projects funded through the Howard Government’s Natural Heritage Trust.

“These projects have achieved significant on-ground outcomes, including the planting of more than 26 million seedlings, the protection of 7,730 square kilometres of native vegetation and the erection of 36,000 kilometres of protective fencing along our waterways.

“We strongly encourage community groups to apply for funding from the Australian Government Envirofund Drought Recovery Round to help make a real difference in their local environment,” Senator Macdonald said.

For details on the Australian Government Envirofund Drought Recovery Round, phone 1800 065 823 toll-free or visit the NHT web site.

Applications must be received by 14 February 2003. People directly affected by recent bushfires can submit their applications by 7 March 2003.

Media Contacts:
Dr Kemp’s office, Dr Peter Poggioli (02) 6277 7640
Senator Macdonald’s office, Kelly Stevens (02) 6277 7270 / 0405-191-732

Commonwealth of Australia