The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Mr Warren Truss
Western Australian Minister for Environment
Dr Judy Edwards
Western Australian Minister for Agriculture
Mr Kim Chance
17 June 2004
A long-term plan to manage land, water, coastline, marine areas and biodiversity in Western Australia's South West region was jointly launched today by the South West Catchments Council and the Australian and State Governments.
The Council's draft Regional Strategy for natural resource management will help ensure that despite pressures such as salinity and other threats to land and water-based ecosystems, management of the region's natural resource assets will have a more sustainable outcome.
The draft strategy was released for pubic comment by Australian Government Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp; Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss; and State Ministers for the Environment Dr Judy Edwards; and Agriculture, Kim Chance.
The strategy covers the five million hectares and 33 local government areas that make up the South West region and sets long-term (50-year) targets to safeguard natural resources, with an immediate action plan for a coordinated approach to ensure targets are met.
It will provide direction for future investment in natural resource management by the Australian Government, the State Government and the regional community.
Mr Truss said the South West was one of 56 regions throughout Australia where regional strategies are being drawn up to tackle salinity and other threats to our natural resource base.
"The regional community has been involved in shaping the plan within the criteria established by the Australian and State Governments," he said. "This has ensured that the plan is comprehensive and focuses on causes rather than symptoms of degradation."
Dr Kemp said the strategy addressed key local and national environmental issues such as biodiversity loss.
"It provides a structure for targeted investment in the future of our prized natural resources and will set the scene for a cooperative partnership with all levels of government," he said.
Dr Edwards congratulated the South West Catchments Council on its efforts.
"The South West holds a special place in the affections of Western Australians," she said. "This strategy will help ensure the protection of one of the State's most biodiverse areas while also improving the condition of its waterways, wetlands, coasts and marine areas."
Mr Chance said the strategy provided key directions for landholder involvement in maintaining agriculturally-productive land for the benefit of all and farming in harmony with the environment.
"Everyone with an interest in the future of our land and water resources should take advantage of this public comment period and have input into the regional strategy," he said.
The draft South West Strategy will be open for a six-week public comment period from 15 June.
Once it is formally accredited by the Australian and State Governments, it will provide a framework for further investment in natural resource management under the National Action Plan on Salinity and Water Quality and Natural Heritage Trust.
Copies of the draft strategy can be obtained at the South West Catchments Council's website at www.swcatchmentscouncil.com