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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
Dr David Kemp
Commonwealth Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Warren Truss
Commonwealth Australian Minister for Agriculture
Dr Judy Edwards
Western Australian Minister for the Environment
Kim Chance
Western Australian Minister for Agriculture
Don Randall MP
Federal Member for Canning

7 April 2004

$2 million to tackle salinity and water quality in Western Australia

Tackling salinity and improving water quality in Western Australia will be the focus of a $2 million investment by the Australian and Western Australian governments, funded under the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality.

The priority funding was announced today by Federal Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, David Kemp, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, and West Australian Ministers for the Environment, Judy Edwards, and Agriculture, Kim Chance.

While visiting the Canning electorate with local Federal Member, Don Randall, Dr Kemp said the $2 million being made available would activate urgent works to tackle salinity, improve water quality and conserve native plants and animals.

"This funding will help manage nutrients in the South Coast, assist water management in the Ord Irrigation Area, and highlight natural resource management issues with local governments in the Northern Agricultural region," he said.

"Part of this funding includes $500,000 for the Avon region to develop integrated town water management plans and demonstrate a pilot water scheme engineering plan, which will protect town infrastructure and native flora and fauna from the impacts of salinity, and develop alternative water supplies and recycling.

"These plans will set out how each town may control salinity, produce alternative water supplies, and develop new industries. The pilot water scheme will demonstrate the viability of water management strategies, including groundwater pumping, drainage, surface water harvesting and storage, desalination, mineral extraction, re-cycling and irrigation, or a combination of these elements.

Mr Truss said farmers in the South Coast region would benefit from $350,620 of the $2 million, for salinity management in the West River Catchment.

"These funds will help implement sustainable low recharge farming systems in the catchment to stop or reduce the amount of agricultural land affected by salinity," he said.

"This will give landholders a demonstrated profitable use of saline land in the catchment. The project will also help develop a surface water management plan for the catchment, investigate the use of saline water for aquaculture, and establish woody perennials, which contribute to reduced ground water levels and reduced salinity."

Dr Edwards said she was particularly pleased to announce the first round of funding for regional priority projects under the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality.

"These projects come from the regions' draft natural resource management plans" she said.

"While these plans have yet to be finalised, the fact that they are advanced enough for us to make these investment commitments gives me great confidence for the future."

Mr Chance said the public consultation phase gave regional groups and governments confidence in the fact that local communities supported the plans.

"To be able to announce funding for these priority projects is a great step forward in combating the major salinity and water quality issues in this state," he said.

Details of the projects announced today are attached. More information about the National Action Plan is available at:

Regional Priority Projects

South Coast $593,510

Contact: Kristina Fleming, South Coast Regional Initiative Planning Team (08) 9892 8494

$68,570 South Coast Priority Wetland Management and Conservation Program
This project will maintain wetland conservation as a priority activity in the South Coast region. Wetland catchment management plans will be developed and implemented for two regionally significant wetland suites, particularly through support for fencing, revegetation, surface water drainage, establishment of perennial vegetation and groundwater monitoring programs.

$53,000 to implement strategic priorities, Wilson Inlet Nutrient Action Plan
The priorities of this project include: preparing nutrient audits, management recommendations and mapping of two dairies and three potato farms; and implementing key works eg. sawdust trenches, spray irrigation, fencing and revegetation. The project also supports the streamlining of about 30km of fencing along drains in Lake Sadie, Cuppup and Sleeman drainage districts

$36,700 for a hydrological risk and resource condition baseline assessment for the eastern Fitzgerald Biosphere (Ravensthorpe Shire) on the South Coast of Western Australia
Stakeholders will be provided with documented information on the current hydrological risks and resource condition baselines for groundwater depth and salinity to improve understanding of the current and potential level of risk, make informed decisions on viable salinity management options for the groundwater flow system and assist in setting resource condition targets for salinity. Interested landholders will be provided with the skills and understanding to monitor and evaluate changes to groundwater levels enabling them to self-monitor and evaluate the impacts of their on-ground works on the groundwater levels.

$350,620 for salinity management in the West River Catchment
This project will develop and implement sustainable low recharge farming systems in the catchment to halt or reduce amount of agricultural land affected by salinity. This will result in demonstrated profitable utilisation of the saline land in the catchment. The project will also design and implement a surface water management plan for the catchment, investigate the use of saline water for aquaculture and establish woody perennials to increase water use.

$84,620 to develop and implement an integrated surface water management plan for Lake Toolbrunup
This project will evaluate existing and proposed surface water engineering works, and reduce the maximum flow events of the arterial drainage line through water use, retention, diversion and containment. As a result, about 100 acres of land in the middle of the catchment will no longer be subjected to inundation; about 250 acres in the mid and upper catchment will have increased water usage, improved soil structure, increased productivity and surface drainage; and the health and viability of about 140 acres of remnant vegetation will be improved.

Avon $520,000

Contact: Rob Edkins Avon Catchment Council (08) 9690 2250

$500,000 for Rural Towns - Liquid Assets
Based on a strategic assessment of assets and threats, the project will design, install and demonstrate integrated town water management schemes, which process locally-sourced water with which to supply existing rural water supply demands. The project will protect town infrastructure from the impacts of salinity, protect and manage remaining biodiversity assets, develop alternative water supplies and recycling, promote and develop new high value water use industries and foster local ownership of water resource management issues.

$20,000 to coordinate engineering activities to address salinity in the Avon
This project will coordinate activity within the region, through the formation of a working group of all interested parties and accessing technical advice, for the development of a strategy for assessing and formulating engineering solutions for addressing salinity issues.

Northern Agriculture $268,400

Contact: John Braid, Northern Agricultural Catchments Council 0427 088 297

$268,400 for a feasibility study on Yarra Yarra to demonstrate catchment governance and planning concepts
This project will identify best-practice governance and design criteria for a sustainable regional drainage system. It will provide seed funding to establish a working model of the combined initiatives to enable effective evaluation by the community.

South West $237,514

Contact: James Dee, South West Catchments Council (08) 9752 1688

$159,052 to develop and implement the Geographe and Capes River Action Plan
The project will protect high-value water and native flora and fauna through the recovery and protection of natural diversity of Gunyulgup and Ellen Brook waterways. Targeted on-ground works, such as revegetation, erosion and weed control and fencing, based on strategic assessments of the waterways will be supported to enable land managers to protect and maintain high value environmental and productive assets.

$78,462 for water quality protection and community capacity building in the South West
The Ribbons of Blue program will assist local communities in the South West to implement coordinated and targeted action to improve water quality through monitoring ground and surface water programs. It will raise community awareness of water quality issues through education and provision of information and support coordinated community and landholder actions.

Rangelands $312,030

Contact: Kel Baldock, Rangelands NRM Coordinating Group (08) 9455 5455

$312,030 for improved water management in the Stage 1 Ord River Irrigation Area
This project seeks to enhance the sustainability of the irrigation industry and significantly reduce salinity and water quality impacts of irrigation on the Lower Ord River Catchment System. This will be achieved through irrigators working closely with the community and researchers to implement on-ground works to improve irrigation efficiency and reduce drainage.

Commonwealth of Australia