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

13 May 2003

$20 million for Community Action Under the Australian Government Envirofund


Local communities will continue to take practical action to protect their environment in 2003-04 through the Australian Government Envirofund, the Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and the Federal Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald, announced today.

With funding of $20 million for each of the next two years, the Australian Government Envirofund is the local action component of the $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust. The Trust is the largest environmental rescue effort ever delivered by any Australian Government.

"Community groups can apply for grants from a few hundred dollars up to $30,000 to carry out on-ground actions to target local problems such as water quality, protection of native vegetation, salinity and coastal erosion," Dr Kemp said.

"The Howard Government is committed to supporting communities in finding local solutions to local environmental challenges and to date, over 400 000 volunteers have taken part in Trust activities."

Senator Macdonald said that, by funding small, local projects, the Australian Government Envirofund demonstrates that all Australians can all do their bit and make a real difference in protecting and enhancing our local environment and natural resources.

"Projects range from reversing land degradation to improving water quality and the environmental condition in our river systems and wetlands; from conserving and restoring habitat for our unique native flora and fauna to protecting our coastal catchments, ecosystems and marine environments," Senator Macdonald said.

In the first round of annual funding under the Australian Government Envirofund for 2002-03, the Envirofund provided funding for 1,324 projects across Australia. A special Drought Recovery Round of the Envirofund has also provided a further $10 million to help communities cope through these tough times.

Applications for funding from the first round of $10 million in Envirofund for 2003-2004 were invited in May. Applications for the second round are expected to be invited in September/October. For more information on the Australian Government Envirofund, visit: http://www.nht.gov.au/envirofund/index.html

Further Inquiries:
Dr Kemp's office: Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Senator Macdonald's office: Philip Connole 0417 063 605

Commonwealth of Australia