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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for theEnvironment and Heritage
David Kemp
Australian Minister for Agriculture,Fisheries and Forestry
Warren Truss

25 November 2003

Natural Heritage Trust Improving Vegetation Management

Land managers across Australia will have better access to information about the role of vegetation in maintaining healthy eco-systems under a new project funded by the Howard/Anderson Government's $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

The new National Vegetation Knowledge Service - announced today by Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, and Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp - would be run by Greening Australia with initial funding from the Trust of $700,000.

"Increasingly, land managers, landcare and catchment management groups and government agencies are recognising the importance of vegetation in maintaining healthy eco-systems and productive landscapes," Dr Kemp said.

"However, until now, finding the right information about specific types of vegetation and, for example, how they can be incorporated into a farming or other land management system, has been difficult.

"The new National Vegetation Knowledge Service, to be trialled over an initial 10-month period, will make this information readily available and bring together information from a range of sources.

"This service is not about knowledge for its own sake but rather the practical sharing and application of knowledge for on-ground action."

For instance, the service will provide results of Trust-funded projects such as the successful `Bringing Birds Back' project, which, through a targeted revegetation program throughout the ACT and South East NSW, saw the return of native birds to the area.

"The service will also provide useful information on native pastures and trees that benefit farmers. For example, kangaroo grass and other native grasses are drought resistant and can help reduce soil erosion which is beneficial to pastoralists, especially during dry conditions," Mr Truss said.

Mr Truss said the service would provide links between regional natural resource management networks and organisations, and vegetation-related research and development bodies.

"The service will guide users to where relevant information can be found through national and regional forums, handbooks, toolkits and websites," he said.

"It will increase the use of existing knowledge and identify gaps in our current understanding.

"It will also address some of the contradictions existing between different research to improve the understanding of practitioners about appropriate on-ground practices."

Two 'plain English' guides are proposed in the early stages summarising existing research and development organisations and evaluating existing research and useful tools.

"We recognise the leadership of the rural sector in managing vegetation for conservation and sustainable use. This project will support that endeavour," Mr Truss said.

Commonwealth of Australia