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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

27 June 2003

Kemp Condemns False and Irresponsible Statement by Thomson

Federal Environment and Heritage Minister, Dr David Kemp, has today condemned as false and irresponsible a claim from Labor's Kelvin Thomson that up to 600 Landcare and Coastcare Coordinators across Australia would be unemployed from Monday.

Dr Kemp said that the Commonwealth has ensured that funding is in place for up to 550 facilitators and coordinators across Australia by states and regions, and that the Commonwealth was in the process of directly employing up to another 30. Outside of Tasmania, all these facilitator and co-ordinator positions have been funded or extended for at least three months.

"If Kelvin Thomson wants to help retain the 15 facilitator and coordinator positions in Tasmania, then he should call his Labor colleagues there and encourage them to bring forward the proposal for their employment from the current timeline of July," Dr Kemp said.

The 62 regional community-based organisations across Australia - through which the Commonwealth and the States are implementing the Howard Government's $1 billion extension of the Natural Heritage Trust - will become the main employers of facilitators and coordinators.

Dr Kemp said some of the community-based organisations may decide to employ more, or fewer, facilitators and coordinators in their regions, and some may decide to stay with those who currently hold those jobs, or perhaps advertise positions.

This could lead to some changes in personnel, and some changes to numbers, but he emphasised that the process would be community driven.

"There is no truth, and a great deal of irresponsibility, to Mr Thomson's claim," the Minister said.

Commonwealth of Australia