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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
The Hon. Peter McGauran MP
Australian Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation
Senator Ian Macdonald
13 October 2005
A new Reference Group is to be appointed to advise on the future of the Government's $3.5 billion natural resource management programmes – the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality.
This was announced today by the Australian Government Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran and Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald.
"We want to ensure a smooth transition to any new arrangements after the current National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality and the Natural Heritage Trust conclude in June 2008," Senator Campbell said. "The Reference Group will be consulting across Australia with key community and industry stakeholders".
"Since 2002, the Australian Government's National Action Plan and the National Heritage Trust have achieved significant progress with community-based catchment plans now being implemented in 52 of Australia's 56 regions. These programmes are the largest investment by an Australian Government in the management of Australia's environment and sustainable agricultural resources."
The group will be made up of three members with links to the community and experience across a range of environmental and sustainable agriculture issues. The Chairman of the Reference Group will be Mr Kim Keogh, a well known pastoralist from Western Australia. He will be joined by Mr Bob Frazer, Executive Officer of the Burdekin Dry Tropics Board, and Mr Doug Chant, President of the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria.
Minister McGauran said the Group would consult with national organisations such as the National Farmers' Federation, regional bodies and other key industry, environment, scientific and community stakeholders.
"We want to ensure that the Group hears the views of the key players in natural resource management. This is essential to ensure that any future arrangements build on the knowledge and hard-earned successes gained by government, rural industries and the community to date" Minister McGauran said.
The Ministers said that the Group would report early next year on the strengths and opportunities of the Australian Government's current regional natural resource management programmes.
"We want to build on our successes and create an enduring legacy of sustainability for future generations," they said.
Renae Stoikos (Minister Campbell) (02) 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
David Crisafulli (Minister Macdonald) 07 47713066 or 0400 144 483
Russ Neal (Minister McGauran) 02 62777520 or 0413 601 303