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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
&
Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
Stephen Robertson
&
Queensland Minister for the Environment, Local Government, Planning and Women
Desley Boyle

18 February 2005

Action plan for natural resources in southern Queensland


Better river health, saving endangered ecosystems and supporting agricultural productivity are high on the agenda for natural resource management (NRM) plans for Queensland's Western, South East Queensland and Condamine catchments.

The news that all three catchment plans have received accreditation was announced today by Australian Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss and Queensland Ministers for Natural Resources, Stephen Robertson, and Environment, Desley Boyle.

The Ministers said the plans map out natural resource priorities and provide a basis for funding under the $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust and the $1.4 billion National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality.

There's more good news for the Western Catchment. The region has reached the next stage of NRM management following the approval of its investment strategy.

Senator Campbell said the region will receive more than $4 million for 2005 for its 'reviving our rivers' program.

"This will help improve water quality by managing and protecting riverbank and floodplain areas, as well as protecting vegetation, aquatic ecosystems, and soil and wetland health.

"The region will also address threats such as pollutants and contaminants, erosion, pest species and land use change," Senator Campbell said.

Minister Truss said landscapes would reap the benefits from a 'productive landscapes' program.

"This will help improve land-use management practices to ensure the productivity and profitability of the region is maintained and improved.

"Besides combating salinity and soil erosion, the strategy will also confront the effects of habitat fragmentation and inappropriate fire regimes on our native plants and animals," the Australian Agriculture Minister said.

Minister Robertson said the funding would help maintain water quality at Chinchilla Weir in line with local, state and national guidelines.

"Water is a major priority because some of the region's greatest assets include the Condamine River, about 70 recorded wetlands, 12 major dams and groundwater from sub-artesian aquifers and the Great Artesian Basin," he said.

Minister Boyle said one of the aims of the Condamine plan is to see five sub-catchments that had less than 30 per cent remnant vegetation coverage in 2003, achieve a 10 per cent increase in vegetation cover by 2018.

"We want to encourage best environmental practice to increase the extent of regional ecosystems, which are endangered - that is, the open grassy poplar box woodlands and brigalow forest on the floodplains and mountain coolibah woodlands in the ranges."

"The region has a complex mix of habitats containing 2,000 plant species, 500 vertebrate animal species and 95 regional ecosystems, so it's important we take care of it," she said.

Media contacts:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Kylie Butler (Minister Truss' office) 02 6277 7520 or 0417 652 488
Paul Lynch (Minister Robertson's office) 07 3896 3688 or 0417 728 676
Louise Foley (Minister Boyle's office) 07 3227 8825 or 0407 966 829

Commonwealth of Australia