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

6 August 2004

Plan of action for northern agricultural region's natural resources


The Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC) and Australian and West Australian State Governments have launched a comprehensive strategy to manage the Northern Agriculture region's natural resources.

The Council's draft Regional Strategy for Natural Resource Management (NRM) will provide a blueprint for future investment priorities in natural resource management to meet 20-year targets across the region.

The draft strategy was released for public comment today by Australian Government Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, and West Australian Ministers for the Environment, Dr Judy Edwards, and Agriculture, Kim Chance.

Senator Campbell said the NACC had taken a grassroots approach to creating the draft strategy, involving hundreds of people from the community in setting targets and actions.

"The strategy provides a coordinated approach to natural resource management covering land, water, biodiversity, coastal and marine environment, air quality and community assets such as parks and reserves," he said.

"The blending of community input with technical and financial support from the Australian and State Governments has been crucial to the effectiveness of this approach to NRM. It's a collaborative approach to key environmental issues that will benefit our entire community."

Minister Truss said the Northern Agricultural Region extended from Gingin to Kalbarri in the north, and east to Dalwallinu and Perenjori, taking in farming and coastal communities as well as the pristine Abrolhos Islands.

"The region is a very important agricultural contributor and this strategy will assist the farming community to ensure their resource management remains sustainable," he said.

Dr Edwards congratulated the NACC on its community involvement and development of the strategy.

"People throughout the Northern Agricultural Region will have a sense of ownership of this strategy, which we hope will translate into increased enthusiasm for undertaking the necessary on-ground actions to protect natural resources," she said.

"This draft strategy has captured community aspirations and priorities that will lead to better outcomes for all."

Minister Chance said it was heartening to see the number of people throughout the agricultural communities that had already contributed to the strategy.

"I urge all people in the region, not just farmers, to take the opportunity to read through this document and take advantage of the public comment period to have their say," he said.

"This strategy not only highlights goals for NRM but also formalises a partnership between community and government in dealing with these issues in the future," he said.

The draft strategy will be open for a six-week public comment period, ending on 13 September 2004.

Once the strategy is accredited by the Australian and State Governments, it will provide a framework for further investment in NRM under the $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust and the $1.4 billion National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality.

For more information or to download a copy of the strategy, visit the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council web site at www.nacc.com.au; for information about the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality visit www.napswq.gov.au and the Natural Heritage Trust at www.nht.gov.au

Commonwealth of Australia