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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 MP

10 December 2004

Queensland's hollow commitment to community


Hard-working Queensland communities have been let down by their State Government following its decision not to commit to community natural resource management.

The Australian Government Minister for Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, said today that this was an unacceptable blow to Queensland's dedicated communities.

"Queensland has advised the Australian Government that it will not meet core operating costs of community groups implementing regional natural resource management plans, but would consider it in late next year community after yet another review of regional arrangements in the state," Senator Campbell said.

"This is despite Queensland acknowledging that its last review showed support from all sectors for existing regional arrangements and that the community expected a high-level of government involvement."

Mr Truss said Queensland's lack of support was a major setback for community groups that had been working for more than a year developing management plans for Australian and State Governments to accredit, and were now poised to be implemented.

"It is ironic that Queensland recognises the time and resources needed to ensure community support for natural resource management activities but ignores to fund community groups to get on with the job, " he said.

"While Queensland reconsiders its position, the Australian Government has offered to cover half the core operating costs of these groups, and in some cases up to two-thirds of the costs.

"Senator Campbell and I are calling on Queensland to commit before Christmas to share core operating costs in the short-term, and deliver a tangible, long-term commitment well before the start of the next financial year."

Senator Campbell said Queensland should remember that natural resource management was a partnership between all levels of government and the community and government.

"Both the $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust and the $1.4 billion National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality represent the biggest financial commitment to environmental action in Australia's history."

"The task of protecting our environment and natural resources is huge and requires a cooperative partnership with everybody. Queensland should not be exempt."

Media contacts:
Minister Truss: Tim Langmead 02 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433
Minister Campbell: Wayne Grant 02 6277 7640 or 0407 845 280

Commonwealth of Australia