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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Warren Truss
Western Australian Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Kim Chance
Western Australian Minister for Environment
Dr Judy Edwards

6 August 2004

$16.6 million boost for WA's natural resources

Western Australia's natural resources will be further protected by $16.6 million from the Australian and West Australian Governments to tackle priority conservation and land management issues.

Of the $16.6 million, the Australian Government has contributed $15.9 million, with the WA Government providing $700,000 and in kind support through other expenditure.

The investment, from the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, was announced today by Australian Government Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, and State Ministers for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Kim Chance, and Environment, Dr Judy Edwards.

Senator Campbell said $6.4 million was for urgent regional and statewide projects, $8.4 million to support 114 people dedicated to protecting the state's natural resources and $ 1.8 million in foundation funding to help regional NRM groups finalise their strategies.

"Priority projects include the Western Swamp Tortoise recovery plan, essential conservation work for Gilbert's Potoroo, and coastal management through fencing, revegetation, interpretive signage, compost toilets and designated access," he said.

"The funds will also help continue the conservation of eucalypt woodlands in the Wheatbelt through conservation covenants, encouraging landholders to be involved with the Land for Wildlife program, voluntary management agreements and land acquisition."

Mr Truss said the funds will support continued sustainable land management practices for the Avon and South West regions.

"Ongoing rehabilitation of local landscapes in the Avon will help communities to maximise the environmental benefits while maintaining viable agricultural production systems," Mr Truss said.

"Work with local government in the South West region will reduce water consumption and funding continues for the Harvey River and Murray River restoration programs and the extension of efficient drainage practices in the Serpentine River catchment."

Mr Chance said the investment would help communities in the Rangelands region to better understand the benefits of improved fire regimes on erosion control and reduction of wildfires.

"This will be done by improving fire management and control skills in communities, identifying biodiversity at risk from fires and improving the understanding of fire issues in the Kimberley," he said.

"These funds will also help establish priorities for wetland conservation and management through a broad wetland survey of the Kimberley sub-region to identify the values and threats to these wetlands."

Dr Edwards said the 114 local and sub-regional facilitators would play an active role in engaging the community in planning natural resource management for their region.

"The major task over the next 12 months for these positions will be to help develop and implement strategies to improve land and water management across all six natural resource management regions in the State," she said.

"The six regions are to be congratulated on their progress in developing regional strategies and investment plans. The $1.8 million in foundation funding will also ensure regional groups can continue their excellent work and I encourage everyone to get involved in the consultation periods by contacting their relevant regional group."

Dr Edwards said she was also particularly pleased that joint Federal and State funding had been provided to identify and prioritise areas for on-ground drainage works in the southern swan coastal plain.

For information on the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality:

A full list of priority projects is attached.

Priority Projects for WA funded under the Natural Heritage Trust & National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality

$ 515,000 South Coast Region

Contact: Rob Edkins, CEO, South Coast Regional Initiative Planning Team,
Ph. (08) 9892 8413

$150,000 Bandy Creek surface water management planning to protect Lake Warden system (NAP)
Lake Warden is a wetland of international importance (Ramsar site) and is adjacent to the town of Esperance. Most of the catchment of Lake Warden has been cleared for broad acre agriculture and the wetlands are at risk from increased water volumes, eutrophication and salinity. This project will support the development of a process for sub-catchment scale surface water management planning and the preparation of a plan that includes all stakeholders in the lower Bandy creek sub-catchment and protects Lake Warden.

$100,000 Achieving biodiversity outcomes on a landscape scale (NHT)
Continuation of the current biodiversity planning and communication project in collaboration with the Gondwana Link Partnership, SCRIPT, local communities, local authorities, government agencies and corporate partners. The project will guide the implementation of the significant landscape scale agricultural adjustment, revegetation and biodiversity based community enterprise programs and assist in the development of the regional investment plan.

$139,000 South Coast threatened species (NHT)
Ongoing support for essential conservation actions for Gilbert's Potoroo, Western Ground Parrot, Noisy Scrub-bird and critically endangered flora and threatened ecological communities in the South Coast region. Outcomes include protecting and restoring the habitat of threatened species and threatened ecological communities and providing landholders, community groups and other natural resource managers with understanding and skills to contribute to biodiversity conservation.

$65,000 Esperance indigenous NRM capacity building (NHT)
A facilitator will undertake a needs analysis and scoping study to better understand the needs of the indigenous communities in the eastern end of the region for increased involvement in sustainable NRM practices.

$61,000 South Coast strategic actions (NHT)
This project will implement on-ground coastal management works to address biodiversity conservation and sustainable use in coastal and marine environments in the South Coast region. It will provide strategic planning and support for individuals, landholders and community groups to implement these works by way of financial incentives and information in best practice resource use and management.

This coastal management works program will support the implementation of on-ground activities including fencing, revegetation, interpretive signage, compost toilets, and designated access. It will provide opportunities for increased protection of coastal and marine areas in partnership with land managers through the provision of targeted incentives for these activities.

$846,133 Avon Region

Contact: Cathy Lyons, Regional NRM Facilitator Avon Catchment Council,
Ph. (08) 9690 2250

$135,000 Avon River Care - on with the job (NAP)
Protection, enhancement and management of riparian zones, leading to an improvement in water quality, in the upper section of the Dale River and the Dale River South. Includes the collection and collation of baseline data to determine the extent, condition and diversity of water quality and native riparian vegetation for target setting in the regional NRM strategy.

$60,000 Develop and implement biodiversity management guidelines for the Tarin Rock representative landscape area (NHT)
Continuing implementation of the biodiversity management guidelines for the Tarin Rock Representative Landscape Area, with the objective of maintaining and conserving the current biodiversity of the area to ensure its long-term viability.

$240,000 Corridors across NEWROC (NHT)
Prioritisation, protection and management of areas of significant remnant vegetation in the 7 shires under the North Eastern Wheatbelt Regional Organisation of Councils (NEWROC), including planning and implementing a series of biodiversity corridors and linkages.

$137,081 Woodland Watch - Managing and protecting priority native vegetation types in the Avon River Basin (NHT)
Continued conservation of eucalypt woodlands in the Wheatbelt of WA through the negotiation and implementation of a range of conservation covenants, joining Land for Wildlife, signing voluntary management agreements and land acquisition. Community consultation, identification and survey work of priority native vegetation on private land will be undertaken, as a basis for negotiating management agreements for major woodland vegetation remnants.

$64,162 Seed management resources for the Avon River Basin (NHT)
This project will continue to address the lack of local provenance, native seed supply in the Avon region and the lack of skills and resources available for effective seed management.

The project will form the foundations of a Seed Management Services (SMS) Program designed to provide a comprehensive range of services relating to seed supply and use. This incorporates all aspects of collection, processing, storage, distribution, related community facilitation and training and associated coordination with external organisations and agencies. The project will also provide models for the design of seed production areas that simultaneously address multiple conservation and land use objectives.

$15,875 Implementation of the Narrogin District threatened flora management program (NHT)
The project involves implementing urgent recovery actions of six species of Critically Endangered or Endangered (EPBC Act 1999) flora known to occur within the Avon Catchment.

$125,125 Living Landscapes - A process for integrating nature conservation actions into the agricultural region (NHT)
A planning process for integrating conservation and production outcomes underpins Living Landscapes (LL). The project in focused on people working together to rehabilitate their local landscape so that the ecological needs of the landscape can be maximised within the constraints of the agricultural production system.

$18,000 Implementation of recovery actions of threatened species and an ecological community in the Katanning District (NHT)
This project will continue to implement urgent recovery actions for eight Critically Endangered flora species and one Critically Endangered Threatened Ecological Community (EPBC Act 1999) that occur within the Avon Catchment.

$50,890 Priority Avon Waterways action (NHT)
This project will focus on the priorities related to waterways defined by the Avon Catchment Council's regional NRM strategy and the associated Avon River Management Authority's Management Programme. These priorities ensure that any future actions on waterways are strategic and based on community values.

The project will emphasise protection and management of riparian vegetation, including collation of baseline data to determine the extent, condition and diversity of native riparian vegetation for target setting in the regional strategy. Threats to these values will be addressed to facilitate good community management of the resource.

$427,961 Northern Agricultural Region

Contact: John Braid, Executive Officer Northern Agricultural Catchments Council,
Ph. (08) 9973 1444

$130,000 Classification and evaluation, values and threat assessment of wetlands in the northern agricultural region (NHT)
A regional survey will identify wetlands suitable for listing in the National Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia. This regional survey will also clarify that there are significant differences in diversity and uniqueness of wetlands due to variations in the physical environment of the Northern Perth Basin, the Northampton Block and the Yilgarn Block and the threatening processes in these areas.

$90,000 Estuarine water and sediment quality investigations in the northern agricultural region (NHT)
To determine the physical, sediment, algal, nutrient, pesticide and heavy metal characteristics of the estuarine systems in the Mid-West Gascoyne region. Information gained will be utilised to determine any current or potential problems with the estuaries and allow planning of future projects that prioritise and target works on those catchments that have impacted on their consequent estuaries.

$41,261 Characterisation of baseline sediment quality on the mid-west coast of WA (NHT)
Focussing on the marine environment, the project will characterise the natural background sediment quality through sediment sampling (with respect to toxicants) at three key locations along the Mid-west coast (Jurien Bay Marine Park, South of Buller River and Port Gregory) and current background quality in Champion Bay, Geraldton.

$131,300 The Northern Agricultural Region Flora Information Project (NHT)
This project capitalises on an existing network of herbarium collections and community collectors to provide data for strategic biodiversity conservation. It will develop and harness local knowledge that adds to and accesses previously captured state knowledge of plants, including rare plant species and communities, salt tolerant or susceptible plants, species suitable for rehabilitation, weeds and potential weeds and knowledge of value to plant-based small industry and eco tourism.

$35,400 A coordinated approach to the dissemination and collection of NRM data in the Yarra Yarra region (NHT)
To coordinate at the sub-regional and regional level using information technology, a method of extracting and delivering NRM information to small catchment communities. This will provide a better understanding of what information is available and make it available locally leading to better engagement, ownership and management of NRM issues and activities.

$1,053,904 South West Region

Contact: Damien Hills, Executive Officer South West Catchments Council,
Ph. (08) 9780 6193

$176,000 Landscape water management on the Swan Coastal plain in the South West (NAP)
To identify and prioritise areas of drains across the swan coastal plain to allow strategic targeting of investment in on-ground works and to improve water quality in receiving water bodies by providing a locally relevant and technically sound demonstration site for drainage and rehabilitation.

$160,000 Working with local government towards better water resource management (NAP)
To assist local government in the South West NRM Region to work together to reduce water consumption within their municipality and to improve the quality of water being discharged.

$130,000 Conservation of priority remnant vegetation within the Swan Coastal Plain Bioregion (NHT)
A coordinated and strategic approach to nature conservation on the Swan Coastal Plain through providing targeted incentives for fencing, weed control, revegetation etc to resource managers of identified priority remnants, including Critically Endangered Ecological Communities.

$157,000 Busselton-Augusta Biodiversity Hotspot Rescue (NHT)
To provide support to land mangers with poorly conserved/represented vegetation systems and habitat of threatened species to undertake restoration and management measures such as fencing, weed and feral animal control etc.

$132,895 Peel-Harvey Rivercare Action (NHT)
This project is to support and lead continued river restoration and protection works in the Peel-Harvey Catchment. It includes three elements; progressing the work of the Harvey River Restoration Trust (creating aquatic refugia and ecological links); River Action Planning and Implementation for the Murray River (bank protection and revegetation focus); and extension of drainage best management practices in the Serpentine River as developed through the Dirk Brook Project

$89,250 Blackwood Basin Strategic support (NHT)
Provides support for positions that provide strategic support throughout the Blackwood Basin including communications, identifying economic incentives and spatial information management

$17,871 Peel-Harvey Catchment Council administration (NHT)
Support administration of the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council being a subregional NRM body of the South West NRM region of WA. The objective is to keep the Council operating to assist the SWCC with developing and implementing the Regional Strategy and to support NRM activities in the subregion.

$53,788 Conservation and management of south west regional biodiversity priorities (NHT)
The project aims to protect key regional biodiversity assets. It comprises of 5 components:

$81,500 Warren Strategic Environmental Weed Control (NHT)
Support the management of biodiversity assets in the Warren by identifying, documenting and addressing the invasive environmental weed species that threaten valuable biodiversity assets in the lower South West. The project will work will private and public landholders, including local government, to document key threats in the region, undertake control trials and work with land managers to implement a targeted approach to protect environmental assets.

$55,600 "Waving the Wand" Implementing the West Arthur Shire Environmental Weed Strategy (NHT)
Implementation of the West Arthur Environmental Weed Strategy on public land in the shire of West Arthur and compliments private weed control work. The project will target key species through provision of information on control, on-ground control works on public land and revegetation of sites once weeds are controlled to ensure long term protection of biodiversity assets.

$1,142,176 Swan Region

Contact: Liz Western, Swan Catchment Council,
Ph. (08) 9374 3302

$119,400 Western Swamp Tortoise recovery plan (NHT)
The Western Swamp Tortoise is one of the world's most endangered tortoise, with less than 50 mature individuals in existence. The implementation of the Western Swamp Tortoise Recovery Plan aims to decrease the chance of extinction by creating at least three wild populations and doubling the total number of individuals.

$296,500 Recovery action for 9 threatened ecological communities on the Swan Coastal Plain (NHT)
The implementation of these Interim Recovery Plans will, through improved protection and management of vegetation, prevent further decline in 9 critically endangered ecological communities.

$230,000 Beach Health Program, Swan region (NHT)
This program will deliver Report Cards to the community and Local Government about the health of key beaches in the Swan Region. It will establish critical baseline data to assist Local Government prepare stormwater management plans.

$215,000 Perth Biodiversity project (Phase one completion) (NHT)
Provide Local Government Councils and their partnering community groups with biodiversity planning guidelines, bushland mapping and bushland information templates. Give assistance and incentives to Councils and community groups to use these tools to inform Councils of decision-making processes and in the preparation of the Swan Regional NRM Strategy.

$281,276 Community Education and Training (NHT)
This project aims to maintain community momentum and capacity building in Natural Resource Management (NRM) in the Swan Region through 3 sub projects - Skills for Nature Conservation Program, Groundwater Education and Training and River Restoration Training.

$1,772,000 Rangelands Region

Contact: Kel Baldock, Executive Officer Rangelands NRM Coordinating Group,
Ph. (08) 9455 5477

$81,000 Establishing priorities for wetland conservation and management, Kimberley region (NHT)
To carry out a broad wetland survey of the Kimberly sub-region to profile the values and threats to wetlands at this level leading to the prioritisation of sites for management and conservation action.

$138,000 Implementing targeted biological investigations of under surveyed areas of the Rangelands (NHT)
There is little data available for the majority of the rangelands on many aspects relating to the region's biodiversity and this project aims to identify the gaps and undertake targeted work to assist in targeting rangelands NRM investments.

$128,000 Saltwater Country Coastal project, North West Kimberley (NHT)
To capture traditional knowledge relating to the use and future management of the Kimberley coastline from the Buccaneer Archipelago to Wyndham to facilitate indigenous engagement in implementing NRM in the region.

$75,000 Determining baseline sediment quality for the north west shelf (NHT)
To characterise background sediment with respect to toxicants at four key locations along the North-west Shelf and in the inner harbour of the ports of Dampier and Hedland. This will assist in the development of an environmental management framework which will assist natural resource managers to develop sustainable and profitable management systems that promote conservation and ecologically sustainable use.

$125,000 Supporting NRM planning in the Rangelands through the EMU processes (NHT)
This project will trial the Environmental Monitoring Process used at the property level to enhance capacity to undertake practical whole of catchment planning in the Gascoyne Murchison sub-region.

$53,000 Extension of riverine environment rehabilitation work at lower and mid-Gascoyne river sites (NHT)
To implement the Lower Gascoyne River Action Plan through engaging the community in targeted on-ground works upstream from existing works to improve the water quality and streamside environment.

$460,000 Kimberley regional fire management project (NHT)
A community driven strategic approach to encourage responsibility for improved fire regimes by land managers in respect to erosion and reduction of wildfires by improving fire management and control skills, identifying biodiversity at risk from fires and improving understanding of fire issues in the Kimberley region.

$78,000 Working with the community to improve environmental management in the Ord region (NHT)
Address issues that threaten aspects of community sustainability such as loss of biodiversity, land misuse and water quality degradation through implementation of the Ord Land and Water Management Plan.

$500,000 Pilbara Bioregion Biological Survey (NHT)
The biota of the Pilbara Bioregion is poorly known and this project will continue a comprehensive biological survey of the bioregion to assist the development of a NRM plan for the Rangelands and assessment of possible environmental impacts of potential development in the region.

$62,000 Executive and project support - Shark Bay World Heritage Property (NHT)
This funding will continue the co-ordination and management activities and support for the Shark Bay World Heritage Property Community Consultative Committee and Scientific Advisory Committee.

$19,000 Conduct of Shark Bay World Heritage Community Consultative Committee and Scientific Advisory Committee (NHT)
This funding will continue the operation of Shark Bay World Heritage Property Community Consultative Committee and Scientific Advisory Committee.

$53,000 World Heritage Community Education and Interpretation program (NHT)
Control of user impacts is best achieved through education and interpretation and this project informs the public of the high conservation values of Shark Bay encouraging visitors to take a responsible approach to use of the area as well as improving the quality of the experience.

State-wide projects for WA funded under the Natural Heritage Trust

$37,000 Capacity Building for River and Wetland Restoration
The project is an information extension and skill development program that will build capacity in river and wetland restoration. This will be achieved through provision of practical and technical information as well as analytical tools required by local government, community groups and landholders to design and implement best practice river and wetland restoration projects.

$115,000 Wetlands - Collation of Data into GIS
The project will identify all available wetland data in WA and collate this into a special database to compliment wetland characterisation processes already in place and build on data collections held in the State. The database will be made available to regional groups, who identified it as a priority, and the community to facilitate planning processes aimed at protecting valuable environmental and biodiversity assets.

$70,000 Baseline Water Quality Trends and Target Setting
The absence of easily accessible baseline date has been identified by regional groups as an issue in enabling them to develop regional NRM strategies. This project will identify all available data and make it available through a website. It will then work with regional and community groups to formulate resource condition and management action targets for water quality for catchment derived nutrients.

$107,000 Providing on-line Information on the State's Marine Plants
The project will provide on-line access to marine plant specimen names and distribution date for Western Australia to assist regional groups and others in strategic protection and restoration of significant marine, coastal and estuarine ecosystems.

$117,500 State Coordinator for Farm Forestry Extension and Community Support
To improve institutional arrangements and policies that will encourage the development of the farm forestry industry and land management practices that enhance the long term productivity and sustainability of natural resources. Regional groups have indicated their support for this project to assist strategic coordination of farm forestry activities across the regions to compliment local activities being undertaken in most regions.

$80,000 A Monitoring and Evaluation database for NHT2 and NAP Activities in WA
Development of a web based means of entering, retrieving and storing information on NRM funding which is available to regional groups, project managers and members of the community. This will enable data to be collected in a nationally consistent way to facilitate consistent monitoring across regions, the State and nationally leading to improve outcomes and the ability to identify these and assess program effectiveness.

$183,500 State Monitoring and Evaluation Coordination Project
The aim of this project is to provide the project management needed to ensure the successful implementation of the WA NAP/NHT2 Monitoring and Evaluation Implementation Plan by the Regional NRM Groups, State agencies and Australian Government NRM Team. Through a project manager and team, the coordination project will develop the communications, management processes and systems necessary for all parties to operate according to this Plan.

Commonwealth of Australia