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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
9 May 2006
Australia's environment and heritage remains in strong hands with record levels of funding once more in the 2006-07 Budget, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell said.
Senator Campbell said the Australian Government had continued its record levels of environment spending in 2006-07 with $3.9 billion to protect our environment and heritage for future generations. This year's Budget sees an increase in total Government expenditure of more than $878 million on 2005-06.
"Over the past 10 years, the Howard Government has committed historic levels of funding to tackling the national challenges of natural resource management and climate change," Senator Campbell said.
"This year, we build on these cornerstone policies, as well as provide significant new investments.
"The Australian Government will invest a further $500 million to restore the health of the Murray-Darling Basin for the benefit of the environment, irrigators, industry and regional communities. This brings the Australian Government's total investment in the Murray Darling river system to almost $2 billion since 1996.
"I am also pleased to announce $37.7 million over four years for regional marine planning. The comprehensive regional approach we have taken to land management is now paying dividends - we want the same certainty and protection for our precious marine resources.
"We are further protecting our oceans, and our $1.4 billion sustainable fishing industry, by providing a $2 million fast response vessel to combat the scourge of illegal foreign fishing in the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.
"Marine heritage is another priority in 2006-07, with $245,000 for the 400th anniversary of the historic voyage of the Duyfken, the Dutch ship that charted the Australian coastline. This funding is in addition to the $250,000 already committed by the Australian Government for this voyage.
"This spending complements the infrastructure and on-ground work being done for Australia's natural resource management and water conservation under the Australian Government's $2 billion Water Fund, our flagship $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust and the $1.4 billion National Action Plan on Salinity and Water Quality programmes," he said.
The Government's investment in tackling climate change is now at almost $2 billion, with Australia on track to meet its 108 per cent Kyoto target.
The Government will also seek to improve air quality and explore alternatives to fossil fuels through a $11.5 million package to encourage use of biofuels.
The Australian Government's focus on reducing waste continues with $30.1 million over three years for temporary support for oil recyclers through the Product Stewardship for Oil Programme.
"Spending in my portfolio will be $1.1 billion in 2006-07, an increase of approximately $152 million on the 2005-06 Federal Budget," Senator Campbell said.
Other new environment portfolio initiatives announced in the Budget include:
$7.3 million over four years to rehabilitate uranium sites in the Kakadu National Park and $7.2 million in 2005-06 to improve Kakadu and Uluru Kata Tjuta National Parks as tourist destinations; $320,000 in 2005-06 to assist with the restoration of Mawson's Huts in Antarctica; $5 million in 2005-06 to help in the construction and restoration of the important heritage cathedrals of St John's in Brisbane, the Basilica of St Patrick's in Fremantle and St Mary's in Hobart; $2.5 million in 2005-06 to expand the operations of the Australian Wildlife Hospital and assist in meeting the capital costs associated with the expansion of the Hospital's surgical, rehabilitation, research and training facilities; and $30.4 million in 2005-06 towards the Business Restructuring Assistance component of the Great Barrier Reef Structural Adjustment Package, to assist fishing-related businesses and communities.
Environmental initiatives across other Australian Government agencies include:
$316 million in environmental aid in 2006-07, reflecting that the Government's commitment to the environment reaches beyond Australian territories; $388.9 million over four years from 2006-07 to protect Australia's northern waters and marine resources from the depredations of illegal fishing. This includes funding for the Attorney-General's Portfolio, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Portfolio and the Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Portfolio; and $100 million over five years from 2006-07 to support the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, as part of the Australian Government's leading international climate change role.
"Funding provided in the 2006-07 Budget will ensure a healthy Australian environment and heritage for years to come," Senator Campbell said.
For more information: www.deh.gov.au/about/publications/budget/2006
Marianne McCabe on 02 6277 7640 or 0400 389 580