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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
&
Australian Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation
Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald

30 June 2005

Australia’s community groups funded to help save water


The Australian Government today invited the nation’s sporting clubs, schools, service clubs, local government, and other community organisations to take up the opportunity to save and protect our water.

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and the Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald, today launched the Community Water Grants programme aimed at encouraging the community to play a significant role in protecting water quality and the nation’s water supplies.

The government has committed $200 million over five years through the Community Water Grants programme to help eligible groups play a positive role in saving and improving the health of their local water resources.

“The programme encourages better water use and improvements in water health through practical on-the-ground projects,” Senator Campbell said.

“The first $48 million in funding from the Community Water Grants programme is part of a coordinated national effort to save and protect our water. The grants will help communities address water quality, such as through stream restoration, and introduce water saving and recycling initiatives.

“Already 27 groups from around the country are putting their Community Water Grants to good use and demonstrating what can be achieved through simple but smart water saving ideas.”

Senator Macdonald said community groups were custodians of large areas of Australia and significant water users in their own right.

“One of our demonstration Community Water Grant sites, at Ballina in NSW, showed that 30 million litres of water, which would fill 30 Olympic swimming pools, could be saved each year by irrigating the Saunders Oval Complex with reclaimed water.

“Imagine the national savings if we were able to encourage every school, sports ground, bowling club, tennis club and golf course to pursue water saving initiatives,” Senator Macdonald said.

“Every capital city and many regional centres are now operating under water restrictions, with some imposing them as a permanent measure, and water is being carted into some towns. We need to act.”

The Community Water Grants programme is part of the $2 billion Australian Government Water Fund announced in 2004. Funding up to $50,000 will be provided for projects that demonstrate direct water savings, efficiency and/or benefits to surface or groundwater health, and can demonstrate a clear public benefit.

Application forms and guidelines are available from www.communitywatergrants.gov.au or by calling 1800 780 730. Applications close on October 4, 2005.

Media contacts:
Renae Stoikos (Minister Campbell) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
David Crisafulli (Minister Macdonald) 07 4771 3066 or 0400 144 483

Commonwealth of Australia