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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
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Warren Truss

11 May 2004

A further $300 million added to the Natural Heritage Trust

The Howard Government's environmental flagship — the Natural Heritage Trust — has received a $300 million boost in the 2004-05 Budget making it a $3 billion investment.

The additional $300 million will mean the Trust is now extended to 2007-2008, giving greater certainty to the community.

Environment and Heritage Minister, Dr David Kemp, said the Trust, at its previous level of $2.7 billion to 2006-2007, was already the largest environmental protection and recovery plan in the nation's history.

"This extra $300 million will provide the resources needed to underpin long term environmental rescue plans in Australia's 56 catchment regions," Dr Kemp said.

The Natural Heritage Trust is the vehicle through which the Howard Government is funding the 56 community based regional bodies that have been charged with the responsibility of identifying and dealing with local environmental challenges — in partnership with the government.

The bodies are also jointly funded by the Commonwealth and the States, where applicable, through the $1.4 billion National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality.

Since the Howard Government introduced Australia's largest environmental rescue package in 1996, over $1.9 billion has been spent on making our natural resource use more sustainable and protecting the environment for future generations.

In 2004-2005, $152.7 million will be spent on the National Action Plan, up from $113.8 million in 2003-2004, while expenditure on the Natural Heritage Trust will be $310 million, up from $250 million.

Over $460 million, an extra $99.1 million on last year, will be pumped into preserving our unique environment through the Howard Government's landmark National Action Plan and the Natural Heritage Trust in 2004-2005.

Dr Kemp said the two programs were globally unique as the basis of the first strategic effort ever undertaken to place agriculture and the environment on a sustainable basis on a continental scale.

"A healthy landscape is the foundation of a healthy and sustainable economy and society, as well as a healthy and sustainable environment," he said.

"So far, over 400,000 Australians have been a part of this extraordinary effort, and they have engaged in over 12,000 projects.

"This extra commitment to the Trust will ensure that regions can plan ahead with confidence."

Commonwealth of Australia