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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
and
Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
The Hon Peter McGauran MP

24 August 2005

Salinity mapping made easy


Community landcare groups, regional authorities and government agencies will benefit from new guides published by the Australian Government that help decide how to map, predict and monitor salinity in the Australian landscape.

The two new publications and a CD-ROM offer a break-through in salinity mapping by comparing 26 satellite, airborne and ground mapping techniques.

The publications were released today by Australian Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran MP.

The Ministers said salinity costs Australia millions of dollars through lost productivity and damage to buildings, roads, water pipes and treatment systems.

“Our ability to effectively manage dryland salinity depends on how well we understand its causes, location and behaviour - in any landscape,” Senator Campbell said.

“Accurate mapping of the saline landscape, and the hydrogeological pathways that control the movement of water and dissolved salt, is critical to our understanding of the causes of salinity and to finding long-term solutions,” Mr McGauran said.

The new free guides include case studies and detailed comparisons of mapping techniques, and will be sent to landcare and regional planning groups, relevant State and local agencies, organisations and industry groups.

An authoritative assessment of salinity mapping methods, the guides cover 26 mapping methods including satellite and airborne remote sensing techniques, airborne geophysics and electromagnetics.

They make no recommendations, but say the best method depends on the scale and resolution of mapping required, the available funding and pre-existing knowledge.

Commissioned by the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council, the work was funded by the Australian Government, and most of the States, under the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAP). The mapping project received $90,000, with additional NAP funding of $45,600 to cover the costs of editing and publishing the book, guide and CD-ROM.

Commonwealth, State and Territory governments have together committed $1.4 billion over seven years to fight the problem of salinity through the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality.

The guides were compiled after the Australian Academy of Science and Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering reviewed submissions from 36 organisations and individuals totalling 3,000 pages. The reports are available at www.nrm.gov.au/publications/salinity-mapping

Media Contacts:
Senator Campbell's Office: Renae Stoikos 0418 568 434
Gemma Allman 02 6277 3664 or 0408 971 708

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