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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

24 July 2003

Commonwealth Extends Environmental Resource Officers

The Howard Government's Environmental Resource Officer program has been extended to further strengthen natural resource management partnerships between local government and the Commonwealth.

Federal Environment Minister, Dr David Kemp and Federal Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation Minister, Senator Ian Macdonald, today announced an allocation of up to $640,000 per year to employ eight environmental resource officers (EROs) across Australia.

Dr Kemp said the Commonwealth and State Governments recently advertised up to 90 natural resource management (NRM) facilitator and Indigenous land management facilitator positions to work with governments and communities on sustainable agriculture and environmental planning and initiatives.

"The environmental resource officers will work with the Commonwealth and regional natural resource management facilitators and Indigenous land management facilitators to engage local government in environmental action," Dr Kemp said.

"By creating a link between the Commonwealth and local governments, EROs are well placed to promote and disseminate information about Commonwealth environmental policies and programs while assisting local government associations with activities such as NRM policy development."

Senator Macdonald said it was vital that local government played a key role in natural resource management and the task of the EROs was to assist local government to engage in regional scale initiatives.

"The engagement of local government in regional NRM planning and implementation processes is a high priority under the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan For Salinity and Water Quality Programs," Senator Macdonald said.

The ERO program complements a national network of natural resource management facilitators working in the wider community.

Discussions between the Commonwealth and Local Government Associations around Australia will commence as soon as possible to develop new partnership arrangements and develop ERO work plans.

Commonwealth of Australia