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Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2001-2004

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP



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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Australian Government Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation
Ian Macdonald
Tasmanian Minister for Environment and Planning
Judy Jackson

2 July 2004

Landowners to protect grassland at the grassroots

Tasmania will receive $3.8 million over three years to encourage landholders in a voluntary programme to help protect threatened native non-forest vegetation on their land.

Australian Conservation Minister Senator Ian Macdonald and Environment Minister Dr David Kemp have provided for a project that encourages landowners to work in a voluntary way to stop non-forest vegetation being cleared for cropping and non-native pasture.

"Through this programme we are helping landowners volunteer to protect grassland at the grassroots," Senator Macdonald said.

"Vegetation Management Agreements (VMA's) can include support in many ways for example by providing fencing, weed control and the additional farm costs associated with protecting native vegetation."

Dr Kemp said the voluntary project also examined new incentive techniques such as the 'bush tender' and land stewardship payments.

"This allows all participating landholders to establish their own price for services to protect or improve the quality of native vegetation on their land," Dr Kemp said.

"The bids that represents the best value for money receive a 'bush tender' - a payment to protect the threatened non-forest vegetation outlined in their bid. As a result of this, landholders can help improve the quality of high-value conservation areas such as threatened native grasslands in the Midlands."

The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association will house a full-time landholder liaison officer to negotiate VMA's and provide incentive payments.

Tasmanian Environment and Planning Minister Judy Jackson said Tasmania would match the Australian Government investment through in-kind agency support, including the negotiation and implementation of property-based Vegetation Management Agreements.

"The Tasmanian Government recognises the importance of these agreements and will help landowners every step of the way," Ms Jackson said.

Senator Macdonald said he wants to emphasise that this programme is all about protecting native vegetation in partnership with landholders and that it is entirely voluntary.

He also thanked the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association for their support.

Commonwealth of Australia