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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
&
Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Warren Truss
&
South Australian Minister for Environment and Conservation
John Hill

19 May 2004

$10 million for NRM research and development in South Australia


A $10 million funding package approved by the Australian and South Australian Governments is expected to leverage around $20 million for natural resource management research and development activities, primarily in South Australia.

Australian Government Ministers for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, and the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, together with South Australian Minister for Environment and Conservation, John Hill, announced the in-principle $10 million funding today.

From that $10 million package, $4.3 million will go towards five high priority projects.

Funding from these activities will be drawn from the $1.4 billion National Action Plan on Salinity and Water Quality, a joint initiative of the Australian Government with State and Territory governments.

Mr Truss said the funding would be managed through the Centre for Natural Resource Management, established by the Australian and South Australian Governments in 2003 to broker NRM-based research and development identified as being of the highest priority by the South Australian regional NRM groups.

"This package complements the $25.7 million funding announced in February for the five National Action Plan regions of South Australia for a range of on-ground activities and other work to implement the NRM priorities set out in the regional NRM groups' regional plans and investment strategies," he said.

Dr Kemp said the five high priority projects receiving immediate funding reflect the Centre's objective of supporting regional on-ground activities that are based on sound science.

"One project will conduct trials over three seasons to address yield losses in vegetables, post salinity yield losses of perennial crops for application to grape vines, and grape vine tolerance to boron exposure," Dr Kemp said.

"It is expected that the benefits from the research will extend beyond the respective regions that require the research and development."

Mr Hill said the Centre for Natural Resource Management played a critical role in creating partnerships between scientists and regional NRM groups, business and industry, aiding efforts to protect and improve the region's natural resources.

"Its focus is to support the science that addresses the causes of natural resource degradation, to treat symptoms and to develop indicators for salinity and water quality," he said.

Mr Truss said the Centre has indicated the Government funding of $10 million is expected to leverage co-investment of an additional $10 million from a range of industry and institutional sources.

"The Centre's priority now is to broker that additional funding to support a portfolio of some 30 projects," he said.

For more information about the Centre for NRM, contact Sharyn Sinclair-Hannocks 08 8303 9704 or 0438 877 848. A list of the five projects receiving immediate funding is attached.


Five priority projects approved for immediate funding are:

Project: Saline Horticulture Research and Development
Funds: $550,000
Description
: This project will establish management systems and strategies to overcome yield losses in vegetables faced by horticultural growers having to adapt to increasingly saline water. Trials over three seasons will address the yield losses, post salinity yield losses of perennial crops for application to grape vines, and grape vine tolerance to boron exposure.
Contact: Rob Thomas, South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) on 08 8303 9417 or 0417 882 050.

Project: Establishment of Commercial Aquaculture Parks Aligned to Major Saline Groundwater Interception Schemes
Funds: $2.06 million
Description: Funding will be provided over four years to trial and demonstrate the commercial viability of selected species such as mulloway, brine shrimp, oysters and seaweed, and culture systems using water from salt interception schemes on the Murray River. A demonstration farm near Waikerie will incorporate research and development and demonstration/training facilities together with commercial farms that operate in an ecologically sustainable manner.
Contact: Rob Thomas, South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) on 08 8303 9417 or 0417 882 050.

Project: Minimising Salt Accession in the South East Region of South Australia
Funds: $764,000
Description: The ongoing salinity in the South East Region is largely understood but their impacts have not been fully determined, making control measures difficult to implement. This project aims to both quantify the impact of salt accession processes and implement effective control measures for the benefit of both the unconfined aquifer and groundwater. Initial work will focus on Keith and Padthaway. The results of this project will benefit other districts with similar groundwater environments in other regions.
Contact: Christine Johnson, South East Natural Resource Consultative Committee on 08 8762 0752.

Project: Protecting Blue Lake from Land Use Impacts
Funds: $440,000
Description: This project will develop practical solutions for urban, industrial and agricultural land use practices to protect the water quality of the Blue Lake, a South Australian icon and critical water resource for Mount Gambier. The Lake's protection was identified as the highest priority water resource issue in the South East Regional Plan. One of the outcomes will be to evaluate improved land practices that reduce nitrate contamination of the Lake.
Contact: Christine Johnson, South East Natural Resource Consultative Committee on 08 8762 0752.

Project: Lower Murray Landscape Futures
Funds: $537,000
Description: This project will develop long term planning and evaluation to allow communities and government to assess the impact of regional plans and strategies on community well-being in terms of social, economic and environmental outcomes. It will also develop future options and scenarios for the Lower Murray Region.
Contact: Wayne Meyer, CSIRO on 08 8303 8683.

Commonwealth of Australia