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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Minister for Mines
30 September 2003
The Howard and Queensland Governments today delivered on their promise to continue to support natural resource management facilitator and coordinator positions across the state, funded by $8.35 million from the Natural Heritage Trust.
Federal Environment and Heritage Minister, Dr David Kemp, Federal Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister, Warren Truss, and Queensland Minister for Natural Resources, Stephen Robertson, today announced $8.35 million to fund 108 local-level positions across the State's 15 natural resource management regions (NRM) until 30 June 2004.
These regions cover Maranoa-Balonne, Border Rivers, the South-West, Condamine, the South-East, Burnett-Mary, Desert Channels, Fitzroy, Mackay Whitsunday, Burdekin, Southern Gulf, Northern Gulf, Wet Tropics, Cape York and Torres Strait.
Dr Kemp said the funding - to be matched with in-kind contributions from the Queensland Government - would help drive natural resource management at the local level and support the national facilitator and coordinator network.
"Today's funding ensures regional groups are adequately resourced, through coordinator/facilitator support and expertise, to continue working on their regional natural resource management plans and investment strategies," he said.
"The emphasis of the regional management plans is on developing projects that have local solutions for local problems. The plans must be accredited by the Queensland and Federal Government to receive funding for projects proposed in the investment strategies."
Dr Kemp said the investment strategies will also allocate funding for the continued employment of coordinators and facilitators beyond June next year.
"Facilitators and coordinators have been integral to the Natural Heritage Trust, providing valuable support to communities and stakeholder groups involved in developing sustainable agricultural practices and environmental recovery. Today's funding will continue to provide this vital support," he said.
Mr Robertson said Queensland's 15 natural resource management regions would benefit from continued support at the grass-roots level. Today's funding announcement will see the employment of around 115 coordinators and facilitators in total across the State as of next month through to June next year.
This includes 108 local coordinators/facilitators and about seven additional local-level positions still under negotiation in the Murray Darling and Torres Strait NRM regions. There were previously about 115 coordinators and facilitators state-wide before June 2003.
"The number of local coordinators and facilitators was determined in consultation with the 15 NRM regions," Mr Robertson said.
"Facilitators and coordinators can better advise local communities on how they can meet their environmental objectives through a more targeted approach to regional delivery of the Trust.
"Their valuable input into the development of regional plans and investment strategies will drive positive outcomes in key areas such as water and vegetation management, land protection, capacity building, awareness raising and providing scientific expertise."
Mr Truss said people in these local positions would operate in partnership with national and state facilitators under a new model, developed as part of the new strategic approach to regional natural resource management being taken under the Trust's second phase.
"Under the new model the local level positions now have a role in helping local communities to set and address NRM priorities within their region, however they retain many of their previous roles such as helping communities to develop and design local NRM projects and in communicating the latest NRM science and information," he said.
"The facilitators and coordinators program continues strongly, allowing for more flexibility in the provision of direct support and leadership among communities addressing natural resource management problems in their regions.
"Facilitators and coordinators play a vital role in engaging the community in natural resource management and today's funding emphasises the Government's commitment to supporting regional communities to initiate projects that improve sustainable natural resource management."
Under the National Landcare Program, the Howard Government has offered an additional landcare facilitator for each region to help ensure local level community and landcare group participation in natural resource management.
"The positions announced today would be complemented by the additional 15 local level landcare facilitators recently offered to NRM regions in Queensland," Mr Truss said.