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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
The Hon Warren Truss MP
Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
The Hon Bob Cameron MP
Victorian Minister for Agriculture
The Hon John Thwaites MP
Victorian Minister for Environment and Water
28 July 2003
The Commonwealth and Victorian Governments have approved a strategy that will boost the health of the Murray River and put the Mallee region at the forefront of natural resource management in Australia.
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, Victorian Minister for Environment and Water, John Thwaites, and Victorian Minister for Agriculture, Bob Cameron, said the plan outlined the Mallee community's vision for addressing the region's environmental and sustainable production issues.
It is the second Victorian regional catchment strategy accredited under the Natural Heritage Trust and National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality.
"The Mallee Regional Catchment Strategy highlights the community's commitment to improving the health of the River Murray and their serious concerns about the effects of both irrigation and dryland salinity in the region," Dr Kemp said.
"The strategy recognises the importance of the Mallee's native vegetation, internationally and nationally significant wetlands and cultural heritage sites and I am impressed with the region's commitment to better managing these for the future."
Mr Thwaites said the strategy identified the region's environmental, water resource and land management challenges and suggested co-operative ways to address these and improve land, water and biodiversity in the region.
"We are particularly pleased to see the Mallee communities are at the heart of achieving the strategy's goals and ensuring good management of the region's natural resources into the future," Mr Thwaites said.
Mr Truss said the Strategy was the basis of a co-operative effort by the community, the Mallee Regional Catchment Management Authority, local governments and the Victorian and Commonwealth governments to best manage the Mallee's natural resources.
"The Mallee Catchment Management Authority, its partners and the community are to be commended for the way they have come together to produce this vision," said Mr Truss.
Mr Cameron said the strategy outlined the importance of the Mallee region's agricultural production.
"Primary production in the Victorian Mallee contributes about $710 million to the State's economy, about 50% of Victoria's cereal crop and almost all the State's dried vine fruits," Mr Cameron said.
"About 30% of Australian's wine grapes and 70% of Victoria's table grapes are grown in the Mallee along with significant proportions of Australia's citrus, avocado, olive and vegetable crop.
"This strategy provides the basis to continually improve the sustainability of this production as well as better managing environmental challenges."
The Mallee region's community, the Mallee Catchment Management Authority and other proponents have received more than $35 million for more than 350 projects from the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality since 1996-97.
The activities funded include: native vegetation protection, enhancement and revegetation; protecting threatened species; addressing salinity; improving water quality; improving soil health; reducing soil erosion; improving water efficiency on irrigated lands; protecting the River Murray banks; and better managing wetlands.
The strategy provides well-defined resource condition targets and specific management action targets, which outline the vision for where the region hopes to be in 10 to 20 years.
Assets and Goals at a glance
The strategy follows a comprehensive community consultation, including indigenous communities, local government, state agencies, water authorities, industry and communities, Landcare and environmental groups.
Threat Management and Asset Improvement for the Mallee Region
The regional catchment strategy systematically and simultaneously deals with threat management and asset improvement in natural resources. It focuses on the causes of natural resource threats, rather than the symptoms of ecological damage.
Further information: www.malleecma.vic.gov.au