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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon. Dr David Kemp
&
Australian Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation
Senator Ian Macdonald, MP

28 November 2003

Envirofund Delivers $11 Million for Local Communities


Thousands of volunteers are again joining forces with the Howard Government, tackling local environmental problems at their source, thanks to $11 million from the Australian Government Envirofund.

Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald, said today a total of $11.4 million had been approved for 765 projects across Australia in the first round of the Envirofund for 2003-04. This round involves grants of up to $30,000 for community groups to undertake local projects aimed at conserving native plants and wildlife
and promoting sustainable resource use.

Dr Kemp said the popular Envirofund is the local community component of the Howard Government's
$2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust - the largest effort towards environmental rescue and natural resource sustainability ever undertaken by any Australian Government.

"Through Envirofund community groups can carry out important on-ground works in areas such as tree-planting, fencing, weeding and seed-collecting to target local problems such as salinity, water quality, protection of native vegetation and coastal erosion," he said.

"Grants approved this year include $25,600 to transform degraded farmland into a wildlife corridor in the Wolgan Valley, 50km NW of Lithgow, NSW; $24, 385 to monitor Great Barrier Reef sites off Port Douglas, Queensland; $30,000 to restore the Murray Mouth Estuary near Goolwa, 60km SE of Adelaide, SA; and $10,500 to train indigenous and pastoral land managers in erosion control near Tennant Creek, NT."

Senator Macdonald said these latest projects bring the total expenditure through the Australian Government Envirofund to $40 million since the program was introduced in April last year. This funding has gone towards over 2600 environmental projects Australia-wide. Two rounds of funding are offered each year, and for those who missed out this time, the next round for 2003-04 is now open.

"The proven success of the Envirofund hinges on the commitment of regional communities in identifying local environmental and natural resource management problems, developing local solutions and working cooperatively to implement them," he said.

"Community groups have the understanding and expertise to deliver real results, and their Envirofund projects will continue to protect the unique biodiversity and natural resources in their local area."

Envirofund projects already underway around Australia include the restoration of vital wildlife habitat and remnant rainforest at South Pine River in Eatons Hill, 15km north west of Brisbane, Queensland; repair of access tracks, stock fencing and firebreaks on freehold land near Deua National Park, 10km west of Moruya, NSW; and the rehabilitation of sand dunes at Cottesloe, WA.

Dr Kemp said it was encouraging to see that the Envirofund had attracted applications not only from groups seeking to build on their existing on-ground works, but a significant number of new community groups were joining with the Howard Government to protect the environment.

"Applications for grants were very competitive and of a high standard. The successful applicants are to be commended for their efforts and we look forward to seeing the results of their hard work," he said.

Applications for the next round of Envirofund close at 5pm on Friday 30 January 2004. For application forms, phone 1800 065 823 or visit www.nht.gov.au. Details of Envirofund projects are available by visiting www.nht.gov.au/envirofund/2003-2004/round-one.


Project Examples

A full list of successful projects in each state that are receiving funding through the Australian Government Envirofund is available on the Natural Heritage Trust web site at www.nht.gov.au/envirofund/2003-2004/round-one.

Some examples from each state are:

New South Wales - 266 projects valued at $3,631,556

Victoria - 97 projects valued at $1,519,667

South Australia - 45 projects valued at $601,360

Western Australia - 123 projects valued at $1,833,699

Queensland - 168 projects valued at $2,698,289

Australian Capital Territory - 5 projects valued at $88,742

Northern Territory - 25 projects valued at $365,704

Tasmania - 35 projects valued at $679, 978


Fact Sheet

Australian Government Envirofund

The Australian Government Envirofund was launched on 3 April 2002. It is the community component of the $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust and has invested $30 million since its inception to support local on-ground actions.

Through the Envirofund community groups and individuals can apply for grants of up to $30,000 to tackle local environmental and natural resource management problems. A typical Envirofund project includes tree planting, fencing, weeding and seed collecting. They also include training and education activities to help community groups improve their knowledge about the environment and sustainable agriculture.

The Australian Government Envirofund is delivered in two funding rounds a year. The closing date for the second round for 2003-04 is Friday, January 30, 2004.

In its first year (2002-03) the Envirofund invested $20 million for over 1300 projects and a special $10 million Drought Recovery Round for 535 projects for drought-related environmental works.

Envirofund projects already underway are making excellent progress in repairing and improving the environment. For example a project carried out by the Bunya Community Association in Queensland's Moreton Bay area to extend a river corridor by planting local plants along the riverbanks is already showing results with more wildlife, including koalas and a wide range of birdlife, recently spotted in the area.

Another success story is the dune reestablishment project at Perth's City Beach where 400 volunteers, local government and industry have collected and cultivated local plants and established walkways to channel pedestrian traffic and allow the dunes to be stabilised. The planting of key plant species has enriched the biodiversity of the dune ecosystem and produced a stable and diverse remnant niche valued by the community.

The first round of Envirofund grants for 2003-04 is investing over $11 million in 765 projects. These range from small grants of a few thousand dollars, such as $4,366 to rehabilitate 1.5km of the Molonglo River near Captains Flat, 50km south east of Canberra, to larger projects of $30,000 such as the restoration of the Murray Mouth estuary near Goolwa, 60km south east of Adelaide.

The projects being funded in this round also target a range of environmental challenges. For example $14,015 is allocated for tree planting 2.5 hectares of bush along Sydney Gully with 2,000 native species, near Rockhampton, Queensland. Coasts are also being targeted, such as $9, 241 towards activities to rehabilitate coastal dunes near Wooli, 50km north of Coffs Harbour, NSW. Agricultural areas are another focus, as demonstrated in Broke, 10km west of Cessnock, NSW where $6,360 has been allocated to tackle erosion and weeds. Many projects also target waterways, for example $17, 455 is going towards a project to improve water quality and biodiversity in Billabong Creek, Yallara South, near Holbrook, NSW.

More information about the Australian Government Envirofund and an application form and guide for the next round of funding, is available by telephoning 1800 065 823 or visiting the website www.nht.gov.au

Commonwealth of Australia