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Joint Media Release
Acting Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator Robert Hill
Acting Commonwealth Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Senator Ian Macdonald
Western Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr Judy Edwards
Western Australian Minister for Agriculture
Western Australian Minister for Planning and Infrastructure
17 January 2003
The Commonwealth Government has signed Australia's latest bilateral agreement with WA, which will deliver almost $42.74 million for on-ground environmental work over the next three years in the State's South West, South Coast, Rangelands, Swan, Avon and Northern Agriculture regions.
"Under the $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust program, Commonwealth funding will be used to match contributions from WA to manage and improve biodiversity, sustainable natural resource management and the ability of WA communities to deliver these outcomes," the Acting Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Robert Hill said.
"This agreement commits governments and regional communities to work together to better manage and protect Western Australia's water, vegetation, wetlands, and coasts. It will also help efforts to address key issues affecting rural industries and the farming community in Western Australia."
WA Minister for Agriculture, Kim Chance, said $710,000 of the funding would be used over the next year for State-wide projects such as training programs, research projects, and data gathering.
"These projects will provide valuable information and skills for use across Western Australia. Skilling people in regional communities will help develop sound resource management plans, which will identify natural resource management assets and threats in their regions," Mr Chance said.
The Acting Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Ian Macdonald, said today's announcement builds on the success of the first six years of the Natural Heritage Trust while taking it into a new phase, focusing on regional delivery to help develop local solutions for local problems.
"Under the new agreement, funding is delivered on a regional basis, which means communities need only develop a single regional plan to apply for funding from a number of natural recourse management programs," Senator Macdonald said
"It also means communities are given proper resources to address critical environmental issues based on sound economics and science, taking into account the social, economic and environmental impacts of the issues on regional communities."
The State's Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr Judy Edwards, also welcomed the joint signing of the agreement.
"The funding will maintain the communities' momentum in implementing on-ground works to conserve WA's unique native plants and animals, and improve the condition of our rivers and wetlands, which are currently under stress," she said.
The Agreement marks the beginning of a new 'one-stop shop' approach where funding for all environmental activities, including for the first time coastal projects, will be available through the one community-based process.
"This is particularly important for coastal communities who can now develop projects that integrate marine and coast issues with the work of landcare groups in the catchment," WA Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Alannah MacTiernan, said.
Catherine Job (Federal Environment Minister's office) - (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Tim Langmead (Federal Agriculture Minister's office) - (02) 6277 7270
Mike Marren (Mr Chance's office) - 92136700 or 0428 911 240
John Carey (Dr Edwards' office) - 9220 5050 or 0408 051 772