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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
&
Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Peter McGauran MP
&
Western Australian Minister for the Environment and Science
Dr Judy Edwards MP
&
Western Australian Minister for Agriculture and Forestry
Kim Chance MP

3 August 2005

South west strategy kick-starts environmental action


Western Australia’s South West region will benefit from more than $15 million in Australian and State Government funding to fight salinity, sustain primary production and protect native plants and animals.

The $15.4 million funding package was announced today by Australian Minister for the Environment, Senator Ian Campbell, and Western Australian Ministers for Agriculture, Kim Chance, and the Environment, Dr Judy Edwards.

The funding is drawn from the Australian Government’s Natural Heritage Trust and the joint Australian and State Government-funded National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality.

Launching the South West Natural Resource Management Strategy and Investment Plan in Collie today, the Ministers said the regional community had worked hard on its long-term vision for the land.

“The South West is an incredibly diverse region - covering some five million hectares, it is home to a rich array of plant and animal life as well as a rural industry generating almost $2 billion each year,” Senator Campbell said.

“As with other parts of the state, salinity is a major concern for South West landholders. So some of the funding will go into activities to combat rising water tables and restore the health of waterways.

“A $5.2 million water program will support a range of projects, including work to stabilise riverbanks. This will be achieved by planting ground cover and fencing vulnerable areas off from stock. It’s very much about making sure the whole catchment is managed responsibly so future generations can enjoy it too.”

Mr Chance said a comprehensive land management program would also help landholders tackle the salinity threat.

“This problem won’t be solved by short-term solutions, and the South West recognises this in both its strategy and investment plan,” he said.

“Landholders are already working hard to restore their properties, so the funding announced today will be a welcome boost. They will have access to financial support and advice on planting perennial pastures in salt affected areas, as well as help to establish innovative strategies for other land uses, such as grazing.

“This work will complement large-scale activities such as the Collie River Salinity Recovery Project, which will involve consultation with the South West Catchments Council and a range of other groups.”

Dr Edwards said the region was considered “mega diverse” due to large numbers of unique plants, animals and ecosystems.

“The South West Botanical Province is Australia’s only representative on a list of 25 international biodiversity hotspots. The area contains an incredible 329 species of rare or priority plants, including majestic karri eucalypts that can grow to over 70 metres high,” she said.

“A variety of work will protect natural assets, from on-ground recovery for species like the Carnaby’s Blackcockatoo to pest control work at the Beaufort River catchment.

“The region’s stunning coastline is also catered for - over $700,000 has been set aside for work ranging from mass plantings to recovering key sites such as Surfers Point and the Margaret River.”

The Ministers congratulated the South West on its achievements and in particular the development of such strong partnerships with community groups, traditional owners, industry and local government.

Examples of funded projects are listed below. For more information about the South West NRM Strategy and Investment Plan visit www.swcatchmentcouncil.com and for information about the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan visit www.nrm.gov.au

Media contacts:
Tamatha Smith (Minister Campbell) (08) 9421 1755 or 0417 177 397
Amanda Keenan (Premier Gallop) (08) 9222 9475 or 0407 778 104
Nigel Higgs (Minister Edwards) (08) 9220 5056 or 0408 051 772
Alicia Miriklis (Minister Chance) (08) 9213 6700 or 0428 911 240



South west one year joint $15.4 million investment package

PROGRAM EXAMPLES OF FUNDED PROJECTS
Water resources
  • On-ground work to improve waterway health by reducing salinity and nutrient run-off
  • Wetland mapping
  • Design and operate coastal drainage systems
Biodiversity
  • Recovery work for threatened species such as Red-tailed Phascogale and Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo
  • Conservation work for priority landscapes such as the Beaufort River catchment
  • Feral animal and weed control
Land
  • Developing new industries to protect land from salinity
  • Productive use of salt-affected land ie. grazing and saline aquaculture
  • Biosecurity protection for agricultural areas
Marine and coastal
  • Management and recovery work for key sites such as Surfers Point and Margaret River
  • Baseline assessment work to identify impacts on marine communities, ie. seagrass
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