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

25 February 2004

$434 Million to Protect Conserve and Repair NSW Environment

Salinity repair, biodiversity protection and restoration of the Snowy River are among the initiatives to benefit from a $434 million investment.

Designed to protect, conserve and repair the environment in NSW over the next four years, the funding is derived from the Natural Heritage Trust, the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, the NSW Sustainability Trust and NSW Land and Water Management Plan Program.

The funding was announced today by Australian Government Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss.

"This announcement today of funding over four years is an indication of the commitment the Australian Government has to New South Wales' natural resources and offers certainty for the communities dedicated to managing the environment," Dr Kemp said.

"Projects for 2003-04 will receive $64.6 million of the $434 million and will reflect priorities outlined in 2003-04 regional investment strategies to be implemented by Catchment Management Authorities across the state.

"The emphasis of the regional management plans is on developing projects that have local solutions for local problems. These plans are complemented by investment strategies outlining how the funding will be spent on-the-ground.

"This new funding will help farmers to better manage natural resources on their properties and improve their operation, while ensuring the State's beautiful landscapes are protected, conserved and repaired for generations to come."

Examples of projects to be funded in 2003-04, that will benefit the environment , include $1,355,000 to conserve, regenerate and establish native vegetation in the Lachlan catchment; $65,000 to protect coastal wetlands on the Mid North Coast; and $890,000 for aquatic habitat improvement in Western NSW.

Projects that will benefit the state's agricultural industry include $100,000 for best practice management in the sugar cane fields of Northern NSW; $143,000 for priority areas affected by salinity in the Hunter/Central Coast regions; $235,000 for irrigation best practice management in the Lower Murray Darling region; and over $9 million for land and water management plans in the Murray region.

"These projects demonstrate how regional communities are taking ownership of their local environment to tackle the devastating impacts of salinity and deteriorating water quality on our natural resources," Dr Kemp said.

Minister Truss said the $64.6 million this year will allow the newly established Catchment Management Authorities to hit the ground running and manage their region's natural assets.

"The community-driven CMAs were established last year when natural resource management in the state was overhauled to deliver greater autonomy to local communities and landholders in managing the environment," he said.

"At the same time, it is vital that we maintain the viability of NSW agricultural production which is worth more than $8 billion annually."

Catchment Management Authorities are developing investment packages for 2004/05 to 2006/07 that will be supported by $369.3 million of the $434 million funding allocation.

The 11 regional investment strategies announced today will be joined by another two - Hawkesbury-Nepean and Sydney Metropolitan region - in the next two months ensuring all 13 of the State's regions are funded to protect, conserve and repair their environment and natural resources.

The Australian Government thanks the New South Wales Government for working in partnership on these initiatives to protect, conserve and repair the State's environment and natural resources.

A breakdown of funding and examples projects for each region is attached.

Funding and project examples in NSW Catchment Management Authority regions

Region 2003-04 funding 3 year funding 2004-05 to 2006-07
MURRAY $14,500,000 $53,600,000
Example initiative in the Murray region in 2003-04:
On-Farm Implementation South West Slopes
Total funding: $1,544,471

Funding will provide support and targeted incentives to landholders for a range of activities to address salinity, biodiversity decline and soil acidity including: revegetation; river zone protection; management of existing native pasture; saline run-off control; seed production; management of native remnants; and recharge control.
MURRUMBIDGEE $13,400,000 $47,300,000
Example initiative in the Murrumbidgee region in 2003-04:
Riparian Restoration
Total funding: $1,100,000

Eroding river banks and connected gullies contribute a lot of sediment in the Murrumbidgee catchment and related tributaries. The project involves prioritising river and creek reaches for restoration and enhancement, developing and then implementing restoration plans for the priority reaches. The aim is to achieve 500km of restored river vegetation and the construction of 15km of streambank and gully erosion control works.
NAMOI $4,500,000 $24,600,000
Example initiative in the Namoi region in 2003-04:
Removal of barriers to fish passage
Total funding: $160,000

This project will support modification of in-stream structures such as weirs and road crossings that restrict fish passage and have contributed to unfavourable conditions for breeding of native fish species, such as Silver Perch.
NORTHERN RIVERS $2,500,000 $21,900,000
Example initiative in the Border Rivers region in 2003-04:
Restoration Project
Total funding: $278,000

The Australian Government has identified the Border Ranges as a biodiversity hotspot, based on the importance of the area to a large number of plant and animal species and on the threats to their survival. The Forest Restoration Project will assist in managing and protecting these values and will include bringing an additional 74 hectares of high conservation value forest under active management.
SOUTHERN RIVERS $1,500,000 $16,100,000
Example initiative in the Southern Rivers region in 2003-04:
Snowy River Recovery Program
Total funding: $140,000

The Snowy River is an Australian icon that is currently under high levels of environmental stress. This project aims to improve the health of the Snowy River and maximise the ecological, social and economic benefits that will result from the release of increased environmental flows. Specifically, this project addresses the eradication of willows along 35km of the river, in difficult terrain in Kosciusko National Park, to complement 110km already completed.
WESTERN $3,500,000 $19,000,000
Example initiative in the Western region in 2003-04:
Sustainable Grazing and Farming Best Management Practice
Total funding: $290,000

Protection of soil and vegetation from erosion is a major challenge in the Western region for both environmental protection and viable production. The voluntary adoption by landholders of industry-developed best practice codes for sustainable grazing and farming is a major step in ensuring that there is sufficient vegetation cover to combat soil erosion, salinity and water quality problems at the source. Landholders who wish to maximise market recognition with their adoption of best practices natural resource management will be able to seek the internationally recognised ISO14000 accreditation for their products under the project.

Region 2003-04 funding 3 year funding 2004-05 to 2006-07
LOWER MURRAY-DARLING $3,700,000 $17,200,000
Example initiative in the Lower Murray-Darling region in 2003-04:
Wetland Rehabilitation
Total Funding: $138,500

The number of freshwater wetlands within the Lower Murray Darling Catchment is declining due to factors including permanent inundation, isolation from floodwaters, salinity impacts and agricultural/irrigation practices. This project will identify wetlands at risk on both private and public land and initiate appropriate rehabilitation strategies. It will contribute to improvements in water quality in the longer term as well as enhancing biodiversity.
LACHLAN $7,500,000 $32,500,000
Example initiative in the Lachlan region in 2003-04:
Lachlan Salinity Program
Total funding: $2,292,000

The program aims to promote adoption of farming systems that minimise access to the water table, including: 8,250 ha of managed perennial species and tree plantings; 7000 ha of permanent pastures managed to increase perennials; increased water-use efficiency on irrigated lands; and 7000 ha of remnant vegetation retained and managed in saline landscapes.
HUNTER-CENTRAL RIVERS $2,100,000 $18,600,000
Example initiative in the Hunter-Central Rivers region in 2003-04:
Central Coast Biodiversity and Native Vegetation Protection Program
Total funding: $271,000

A 3-year program for threatened species in the Central Coast. It aims to: increase awareness within the catchment on the impacts of landuse practices on terrestrial biodiversity; support awareness and activities of existing Landcare and Bushcare groups to improve the terrestrial biodiversity; formalise an estimated 10 conservation agreements on private land estimated to total 10 ha; improve native vegetation in regionally significant areas including corridors and riparian zones; and, protection of regionally significant vegetation from new development.
CENTRAL WEST $6,900,000 $32,000,000
Example initiative in the Central West region in 2003-04:
Management, revegetation and reconstruction of high conservation value/significant vegetation communities
Total funding: $1,472,000

While the immediate goal will be conserving remnant vegetation and expanding planting for salinity control there will be major benefits for biodiversity through interlinking of vegetation corridors and protection of vegetation clusters for native habitat. Up to 7,800 hectares of remnant vegetation will be enhanced and managed.
BORDER RIVERS/GWYDIR $4,480,000 $26,300,000
Example initiative in the Border Rivers/Gwydir region in 2003-04:
Natural Resource and Environmental Management education and awareness
Total funding: $468,492

The development and delivery of an integrated education and awareness program will provide landholders with information on: what land capability is and what it means to landholders; salt loads and where point sources of salt are; appropriate land use management for saline discharge areas to minimise productivity loss; the benefits of deep rooted perennials in managing salinity; areal erosion and how to prevent it; streambank erosion and how to prevent/remediate it; the benefits of native vegetation and how to manage it; the benefits of wetlands and how to look after them; and, what threatens native biodiversity and how to protect it.
HAWKESBURY NEPEAN Strategy pending $14,100,000
SYDNEY METRO Strategy pending $5,100,000
Strategic reserve   $41,000,000
TOTAL $64,580,000 $369,300,000
Commonwealth of Australia