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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 Eric Abetz

6 October 2006

Envirofund community investments top $110 million


The biggest environmental rescue effort since Federation continues, with the Australian Government announcing $20 million of community projects raising the total investment by the Australian Government Envirofund to more than $110 million.

The funding, provided through Round 8 of the Australian Government Envirofund programme, was announced today by Australian Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Senator Eric Abetz.

“It is timely that we make this announcement on the eve Weedbuster Week*, the theme of which is communities combating weeds. Weedbuster Week and Envirofund both provide opportunities for the community to get involved, get their hands dirty, and help our environment,” Senator Abetz said.

Senator Campbell said Envirofund is about supporting individuals and community groups in taking action to improve their local environment, with a wide range of projects funded.

“Today we are announcing $20 million for 1,126 individual and community projects. Since 2002, Envirofund has provided more than $110 million for over 6,900 individual and community group projects improving sustainability and protecting and conserving the Australian environment,” he said.

“For example, the Australian Government Envirofund will provide more than $43,000 to a group of Western Australian landholders to protect 700 hectares of on-farm vegetation in the Salmon Gums area.”

“The group will erect 19.6 kilometres of fencing on three properties to exclude stock and replant two sites with 5,250 seedlings to extend and buffer adjoining areas of native bushland, creating a safer and more natural environment for native birds and animals.

“In South Australia, Envirofund will provide almost $12,000 for a project to protect and conserve the dry heath and swampland habitat of the endangered Mount Lofty Ranges Southern Emu-wren.

“A Lions Club project in Queensland will receive $16,000 to construct fencing and access paths to reduce dune erosion and install a shower platform and waterwise taps at Australia’s famous Rainbow Beach – home to the coloured sands that gave the beach its name and the gateway to World Heritage-listed Fraser Island.

“At Congo Beach, near Moruya in NSW, the local Landcare group will receive almost $11,000 to build an access stairway to the beach and a walkway made from recycled conveyor belts to reduce pedestrian damage to native vegetation. The group will also remove weeds and plant more than 200 native trees and shrubs.

“Another project in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands will receive $30,000 to help save the nationally endangered Cocos Buff-banded Rail by increasing its natural habitat through the removal of coconut palms and the re-planting of 1,000 native plants,” said Senator Campbell.

Senator Eric Abetz said many of the Envirofund projects were focused on improving sustainable farming practices by fighting the effects of salinity, improving water quality and reducing soil erosion.

“A NSW Landcare group will receive more than $45,000 for a project to reduce soil erosion and improve biodiversity and natural habitat by planting more than 17,000 native trees and shrubs on 12 properties in the Deepwater district,” he said.

“In Young, NSW, Envirofund will provide a local landholder with more than $11,000 to fight the effects of salinity on their property.

“This will involve building 2.4km of fencing to protect 5 hectares of land in two gullies, planting 2,880 native salt tolerant trees and shrubs and direct drilling a mix of salt tolerant pasture species to assist in managing salinity.

“In Queensland, another local landholder will receive $10,000 to erect 10.6km of fencing to exclude stock from the Georgina River and adjacent flood plains during flooding.

“This project will improve water quality in the Georgina River by preventing soil compaction and silting of the river and allow natural regeneration of native species along the riverbanks.

“The Lilydale Landcare Group will receive more than $11,000 to fence and repair riverbank areas of waterways within the Piper River catchment, remove and treat willows, gorse and blackberry, plant 300 native trees and install equipment to monitor and assess native burrowing crayfish populations unique to Tasmania,” said Senator Abetz.

Both Ministers congratulated the individuals and community groups receiving funding through the Australian Government Envirofund for their continued efforts in conserving and protecting Australia’s natural resources.

“It’s great to see so many people involved in Envirofund projects and we thank them for their commitment and dedication to improving Australia’s environment.”

“These people are doing critical work to safeguard our natural resources for future generations and we encourage all Australians to apply for an Envirofund grant and help make a difference to the their local environment,” they said.

Envirofund is the community component of the Australian Government’s $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust. Individuals and groups can apply for grants of up to $50,000 for local projects such as planting native plants, fencing to protect native bushland, skill and knowledge building activities, and trials of new techniques for sustainable farming, forestry or fishing.

Applicants are required to contribute matching funds to the project in the form of cash or in kind services such as labour.

Applications for funding of local environment projects through Envirofund Round 9 will open in early 2007. Exact dates and details will be advertised on the Envirofund website: www.nht.gov.au/envirofund

A sample of Envirofund Round 8 funded projects in each State and Territory is attached, with the full list of projects available on the website.

For more information on Envirofund Round 8 funded projects please visit our website at www.nht.gov.au/envirofund.

*Weedbuster Week runs from the 7-12th October. It is funded by the Australian Government along with State and Territory governments and the CRC for Weed Management. It started as a national event in 1997.

Media Contact:
Rob Broadfield (Senator Campbell’s Office) 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902
Brad Stansfield, (Senator Abetz’s Office) 03 6224 3707 or 0419 884 666

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