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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon. Dr David Kemp
&
Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Warren Truss
&
Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment
Bryan Green

21 October 2003

$2.2 Million to Deliver Facilitators for Tasmanian Natural Resource Issues


The Australian and Tasmanian Governments today delivered on their promise to continue to support natural resource management (NRM) facilitator and coordinator positions across the state.

Federal Environment and Heritage Minister, Dr David Kemp, Federal Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister, Warren Truss, and Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment, Bryan Green, today announced $2.2 million in Natural Heritage Trust funding to help Tasmania's three regional Natural Resource Management Committees develop regional NRM strategies.

The funding includes $1.3 million to employ up to the equivalent of five full-time facilitators and coordinators in each of the Northern, Southern and Cradle Coast NRM regions until 30 June 2004.

The funding has been allocated for 2003-04 under a bilateral agreement signed by the two Governments in June.

Under the agreement, the Federal Government will provide more than $25 million from the $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust to manage and improve the condition of natural resources including biodiversity and build community capacity to undertake on-ground environmental action.

Dr Kemp said the latest funding - to be matched by the Tasmanian Government - would help drive NRM at the local level and involve communities in planning for improved sustainability for primary production and the environment.

"Today's funding ensures regional groups are adequately resourced, through coordinator/facilitator support and expertise, to develop their regional NRM plans and investment strategies," he said.

"The regional management plans emphasise developing projects that have local solutions for local problems. The plans must be accredited by the Australian and Tasmanian Governments to receive funding for projects proposed in the investment strategies."

Dr Kemp said the investment strategies would also allocate funding for the continued employment of coordinators and facilitators beyond June next year.

"Facilitators and coordinators have been integral to the Natural Heritage Trust, providing valuable support to communities and stakeholder groups involved in developing sustainable agricultural practices and environmental recovery. Today's funding will continue to provide this vital support," he said.

Mr Green said Tasmania's three NRM regions would benefit from continued support at the grass-roots level.

"The announcement is an excellent example of the way that the Australian and Tasmanian Governments are working together to improve natural resource management," Mr Green said.

"This assistance in the development of our regional NRM strategies will ensure the community has every opportunity to be genuinely involved in the identification of priorities and appropriate management responses.

"The funds will add to the $350,000 jointly invested to assist regional strategy development by the Australian and Tasmanian Governments under the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality."

Mr Truss said people in these local positions would operate in partnership with national and state facilitators under a new model, developed as part of the new strategic approach to regional NRM being taken under the Trust's second phase.

"Under this model the local level positions now have a role in helping local communities to set and address NRM priorities within their region, but retain many of their previous roles such as helping communities to develop and design local NRM projects and in communicating the latest NRM science and information," he said.

"The facilitators and coordinators program continues strongly, allowing for more flexibility in the provision of direct support and leadership among communities addressing NRM problems in their regions.

"Facilitators and coordinators play a vital role in engaging the community in NRM and today's funding emphasises the Government's commitment to supporting regional communities to initiate projects that improve sustainable natural resource management."

Under the National Landcare Program, the Australian Government has offered an additional landcare facilitator to each region to help ensure local level community and landcare group participation in NRM.

In addition to the local facilitator and coordinators funded under this announcement, Tasmania has three strategic regional coordinators funded from National Natural Heritage Trust funds, four to work State wide funded by the Australian Government and six funded by the Tasmanian Government.

Dr Kemp said facilitators will also help community groups and other stakeholders with projects funded under the Australian Government Envirofund - the Natural Heritage Trust's key community component.

Mr Truss said the investment strategies would also allocate funding for the continued employment of facilitators beyond June next year.

Commonwealth of Australia