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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
&
Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Warren Truss
&
Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries
Acting Minister for Lands and Planning
Dr Chris Burns

29 August 2003

$20 Million for Major Environmental Work in NT


The Australian and Northern Territory Governments have signed a Natural Heritage Trust bilateral agreement that will inject up to $20 million into extensive environmental work throughout the territory over the next four years.

The bilateral agreement triggers funding under the $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust Program which was announced today by Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, NT Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries, Dr Chris Burns, and Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss.

"Under the agreement, Federal Government funding of up to $20 million will be matched by existing Northern Territory contributions to manage and improve biodiversity, sustainable natural resource management and build community capacity to manage the environment," Dr Kemp said.

"Under the bilateral agreement, interim funding totalling $3.8 million will be invested in projects aimed at improving environmental skills and natural resource management this financial year."

Part of the $3.8 million will support urgent action identified by the regional body - the Landcare Council of the Northern Territory - during the interim period while an integrated natural resource management regional plan is developed. This plan is expected to be completed by July next year.

"Investment of Trust funds will support priority activities identified in the integrated natural resource management regional plan developed by the Northern Territory Landcare Council," Dr Burns said.

"Community consultation is an integral part of this strategic planning to set the priorities for natural resource management investment. Another important point is that communities have ownership of the plan so I encourage all Territorians to take part."

Mr Truss said the Natural Heritage Trust is entering into a new phase focused on developing local solutions for regional problems.

"Communities will have access to resources to address critical natural resource management issues based on sound economics and science, taking into account social and environmental impacts on regional communities," Mr Truss said.

"In addition, the interim funding includes $1.34 million to support a network of locally employed facilitators and coordinators across the Territory.

"Local level facilitators and coordinators are fundamental to the Natural Heritage Trust because they will engage local communities in the integrated regional planning process and support the on-ground activities of community groups."

For the first time, the NT will have a network of 27 facilitators and coordinators - four Territory-wide, three regional positions and two Indigenous Land Management positions employed by the Australian Government, and 18 other local facilitators and coordinators employed in the communities that they serve.

They will promote the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, assist developing and implementing regional plans, and involve local communities in natural resource management activities, including those funded by the Australian Government Envirofund.

Dr Burns said the bilateral agreement puts in place commitments to protect existing Territory investment in primary industries, to promote future sustainable agricultural development, and build participants' capacity to protect their local environment - three of the Trust's primary objectives.

"Of the $3.8 million in interim funding, $1.63 million will support 14 priority projects in the Territory. These projects address pressing natural resource management issues such as fire management, weed control, sustainable native pastures, soil erosion, and wildlife and native vegetation management. Most importantly, it will maintain community momentum in improving and protecting Northern Territory's environment developed during the first phase of the Trust," Dr Burns said.

A further $600,000 in foundation funding will help support operations at the Northern Territory Landcare Council.

Projects to receive funding include:

A list of projects funded is attached.

For more information about the Natural Heritage Trust, visit www.nht.gov.au.


Priority Projects for the Northern Territory

Aboriginal Landcare Education Progam - Greening Australia NT ($194,888)
Support for on-ground land management and environmental health projects by Aboriginal community groups in the NT's Top End through a devolved grant process. Contact: Lesley Alford Ph 08 8981 1344 or lesley.alford@nt.greeningaustralia.org.au

Developing a Regionalised Strategic Fire Management Framework for the NT - Bushfires Council of the NT ($78,605)
In consultation with regional communities representing the NT's ten designated fire control regions, the project will undertake a regionalised assessment of fire management priorities, impediments and develop regional fire management guidelines. Contact: Jeremy Russell-Smith Ph 08 8922 0830 or jeremy.russell-smith@nt.gov.au

ALFA - Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Project - Bushfires Council of the NT ($203,569)
This aims to build on substantial investment already made through Natural Heritage Trust, NT Government and community resources in developing regional fire management capacity in the western Arnhem Land region and to establish accountable protocols for reliably estimating and monitoring greenhouse gas emissions from savanna fires. Greenhouse gas emissions could be substantially reduced through strategic fire management and such emission reductions could be reliably monitored. Contact: Brent Williams Ph 08 89220832 or brent.williams@nt.gov.au

Remote Area Landcare Knowledge and Skills Development Project - Tangentyere Council ($102,400)
Improve conservation on Aboriginal lands through educating Aboriginal children in traditional and conventional scientific land management practices. The project will work with three schools, Mutitjulu primary and secondary and Titjikala primary. Contact: Wayne Davis Ph 08 8953 3120 or tanglc@octa4.net.au

Biological Control of Mimosa Pigra and Integration with other Control Options - Dept of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment ($280,856)
This continues the research and implementation of biological control and the development of integrated management of Mimosa (Mimosa pigra). Reducing the vigour of Mimosa plants by introducing specific insects and pathogens will address the causes of Mimosa's invasive characteristics. Contact: Blair Grace Ph 08 8999 2129 or blair.grace@nt.gov.au

Katherine Region Rangeland Revegetation Centre - Greening Australia NT ($82,025)
The revegetation centre will continue the efficient operation of a central easily accessible rangeland revegetation centre for land managers throughout the Katherine and Barkly regions. Contact: Mike Clark Ph 08 8981 1344 or mike.clark@nt.greeingaustralia.org.au

Aboriginal Vegetation Management for Semi-Arid Tropics - Greening Australia NT ($127,483)
Support for on-ground land management and environmental health projects carried out by Aboriginal community groups in the semi-arid tropics of the Territory. Contact: Lesley Alford Ph 08 8981 1344 or lesley.alford@nt.greeningaustralia.org.au

Todd River Remnant Vegetation Management - Greening Australia NT ($60,924)
Community, agencies and local government working together to address threats, identified through previous community consultation workshops, to vegetation health and biodiversity conservation throughout the Todd River Catchment. These threats include poor land management and land development practices that lead to soil erosion, weed invasion and inappropriate fire regimes. Contact: Michelle Rodrigo Ph 08 8953 2882 or michelle.rodrigo@nt.greeningaustralia.org.au

Sustainability of Wildlife Use for Subsistence in the Maningrida Region - Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation ($75,990)
This Maningrida community project will enhance their capacity to manage living resources that form a significant part of the region's subsistence economy and better manage a rich wildlife diversity for their own benefit, and for the benefit of the wider Australian community. Contact: Ian Munro Ph 08 8979 5852 or imunro@bigpond.com

Indigenous Community Based Landcare Project - Tangentyere Council ($107,100)
The project supports remote communities for Indigenous land management in the Central Australian region. This will be through direct seeding programs and through the provision of devolved grants. Contact: Wayne Davis Ph 08 8953 3120 or tanglc@octa4.net.au

Habitat Restoration and Human Influences on Long-Term Survival of the Gouldian Finch ($100,000)
The project will investigate and communicate how best to alleviate the major cause for the decline of the Gouldian Finch. The major cause is a shift to a fire regime dominated by annual late dry season fires. Contact: Milton Lewis Ph 08 89738850 or Milton.Lewis@nt.gov.au

Barkly Region Native Vegetation Management and Indigenous Extension Program - Julalikari Buramana Aboriginal Corporation ($123,250)
The project will support community based land management activities to better manage fires in their area, conduct revegetation for natural resource management and environmental health outcomes utilising native seeds collected by project participants. Contact: Stuart King Ph 08 89621933 or stuart.king@eudoramail.com

Continued Implementation of the Carpentarian Rock Rat Recovery Plan - Dept of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment ($17,000)
This endangered species project will protect known habitat patches from hot fires and undertake an experimental release program of an ex situ population of Carpentarian Rock Rats at another suitable and protected site in the Gulf Region. Contact: Helen Puckey Ph 08 8973 8862 or helen.puckey@nt.gov.au

Looking After Our Soils: Better Outstation and Road Development on Aboriginal Lands - Central Land Council ($79,900)
This project looks after and manages soil on Aboriginal lands in Central Australia to reduce environmental problems. The significant problems of erosion and soil deposition will be reduced by appropriate earth works, drainage and erosion control. Contact: David Alexander 08 8950 5006 or david.alexander@clc.org.au

Commonwealth of Australia