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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. Warren Truss MP

17 June 2005

Regional programs sustaining our land


A report on the Australian Government's $517 million investment in natural resource management (NRM) in regional areas shows communities around the country have answered the call for grassroots action to nourish our land and safeguard the environment.

The 2003-04 Regional Programs Report details the achievements of regional investment through the $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) and the $1.4 billion National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAP), which represent the largest environmental rescue effort ever undertaken by an Australian Government.

Australian Ministers for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, and for Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said the report highlights the success of the partnership approach taken by the three tiers of government, industry and communities to address environmental concerns.

Mr Truss said the report shows that governments have invested around $352 million in the NAP since its inception in 2000/01, and committed more than $2.2 billion to the NHT since its establishment in 1997.

"These activities have directly ensured more than 9,000 hectares of agricultural land have been improved through activities such as planting perennial pastures, which combats dryland salinity and acid soils. More sustainable irrigation systems have also been established on over 5,500 hectares of land."

Mr Truss said the report reveals the 56 NRM regions have delivered local solutions to problems such as salinity, water quality, soil condition, and native vegetation and biodiversity issues.

Senator Campbell said the report showed that regional communities and some 680,000 volunteers are making a real difference to the health of the land through the NHT and NAP projects.

"Regions have developed 163 sub-catchment plans, over 2,000 property management plans and 35 species recovery plans for endangered and threatened flora and fauna. We've seen over 460,000 hectares of native vegetation rehabilitated, around 6,200 hectares of land protected for native species, and almost 4.5 million hectares managed for pest plants and animals," he said.

The Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council has endorsed the Regional Programs Report as a record of the significant achievements in natural resource management to date.

For more information about the 2003-04 Regional Programs Report, visit www.nrm.gov.au/publications/regional-report/03-04/

Media contacts:
Marianne McCabe (Senator Campbell) 02 6277 7640 or 0400 389 580
Kylie Butler (Minister Truss) 02 6277 7520 or 0417 652 488

Commonwealth of Australia