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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Australian Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation
Senator Ian Macdonald
12 November 2004
Thousands of volunteers can now tackle 684 environmental projects around the country, thanks to $8.4 million from the Australian Government Envirofund.
The first round of Envirofund for 2004-05, which will activate 684 on-ground projects across Australia, was announced today by Australian Government Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald.
This round involves grants of up to $30,000. Through the Natural Heritage Trust's Australian Government Envirofund, community groups can apply for grants from a few hundred dollars up to $30,000, but where the magnitude, complexity or public benefit of the project is such that additional funding would be beneficial, grants can be considered up to $50,000.
These grants are to undertake an on-ground project or to help them increase their skills and knowledge about environmental protection.
This is the essence of the Australian Government Envirofund - empowering local communities to develop local solutions to local environmental challenges.
Senator Campbell said the popular Envirofund was the community component of the Australian Government's $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust - the largest environmental rescue effort ever undertaken by an Australian Government.
"Local groups have the local knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm to deliver on-ground results," he said. "Small, local projects help ensure that our rich biodiversity is protected and our rich resources are sustained for generations to come."
Through Envirofund, community groups can carry out effective on-ground work such as tree planting, fencing, weeding and seed-collecting to target local problems such as salinity, water quality, protection of native vegetation and coastal erosion.
Grants approved this year include $15,673 to help protect a Ramsar wetland site near Moree, NSW; $13,647 to help restore the habitat of 70 endangered bridled nail-tail wallabies near Springsure, Queensland; $2,831 to help enhance Parham Reef off the South Australian coast near Adelaide; and $27,091 to restore high-value coastal dunes in Cambridge, near Perth's City Beach, Western Australia.
Senator Macdonald said these latest projects bring the total expenditure through the Australian Government Envirofund to $59 million since the program was introduced in April 2002.
This funding has gone towards 3,999 environmental projects Australia-wide. Two rounds of funding are offered each year, and for those who missed out this time, the second call for 2004–05 is now open.
"The proven success of the Envirofund hinges on the commitment of regional and urban communities in identifying local environmental and natural resource management problems, developing local solutions and working cooperatively to implement them," he said.
Envirofund projects already underway around Australia include restoration of rainforests at Ballina, NSW, protection of cultural heritage at the Warrami Cultural Heritage Area near Tully, Queensland, restoration of wintering habitat for Southern Bentwing Bats near Naracoorte, South Australia, and rehabilitation of Port Cygnet Wetland in Tasmania.
Senator Campbell urged everyone to lend a hand and apply for the next Envirofund round.
"Whether it's a few hundred dollars or up to $30,000, the Australian Government Envirofund channels money directly to communities," he said.
Applications for the next round of Envirofund close at 5pm on Friday 18 February 2005. For application forms, phone 1800 065 823 or visit www.nht.gov.au
A full list of successful projects in each state funded under the Australian Government Envirofund is available on the Natural Heritage Trust web site at: http://www.nht.gov.au/envirofund