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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
New South Wales Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
NSW Minister for Natural Resources
New South Wales Minister for the Environment
27 June 2003
Regional NSW will benefit from extensive environmental work to soon take place, backed with more than $64 million in Federal Government funding - matched by cash and in-kind contributions by the NSW Government - under the Natural Heritage Trust over three years.
The funding - announced today by Federal Environment Minister Dr David Kemp, Federal Agriculture Minister Warren Truss, NSW Minister for Natural Resources Craig Knowles and NSW Minister for the Environment Bob Debus - comes under the second phase of the Trust and will be matched by the NSW Government.
"The Federal and NSW Governments recently signed the bilateral agreement which will formalise funding arrangements for environmental work in regional NSW over the next three years," Dr Kemp said.
"The agreement triggers the release of the first $20.5 million to be spent on 72 projects statewide. This funding will be released soon."
The funding announced today will be managed by the 20 Catchment Management Boards in NSW which develop catchment management blueprint plans identifying key priorities for environmental action in their regions. These are Border Rivers, Gwydir, Namoi, Western, Central West, Lachlan, Murrumbidgee, Murray, Lower Murray Darling, Northern Rivers, Upper North Coast, Mid-North Coast, Lower North Coast, Hunter, Central Coast, Hawkesbury Nepean, Sydney Harbour, Southern Sydney, Southern, and South East.
"These regional groups are the key players in delivering real and sustainable outcomes in NSW under the Natural Heritage Trust," Mr Knowles said.
"The blueprints guide investment and community action in the management of our natural assets in the long term."
Mr Truss said projects to benefit from the initial funding address pressing natural resource management issues identified in the blueprints.
"Additional funding will also employ the existing 170 natural resource management facilitators and coordinators for up to three months throughout the State," Mr Truss said.
"The employment of these facilitators and coordinators will be extended to assist with the transition to new changes under the second phase of the Natural Heritage Trust."
Under the new model, there will be four positions state-wide, 21 regional positions and 132 local level positions, which have been advertised.
Under the new arrangements, the existing network of local natural resource management facilitators and coordinators will now be employed by the communities they serve through Commonwealth support. Positions for regional and national facilitators and coordinators - employed by the Federal and State governments - will also be created.
The role of coordinators and facilitators is to promote the objectives of the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, assist with implementation of blueprints, and involve local communities in natural resource management including through the Australian Government Envirofund.
Mr Debus said facilitators and coordinators have been an integral feature of the first phase of the Trust, providing practical on-ground support through their work with groups such as Landcare, Bushcare, Coastcare and Waterwatch.
"These people have the expertise to help regions develop and implement their natural resource management plans and encourage community involvement," he said.
Details of the 72 NSW projects announced today can be found at www.nht.gov.au.