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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 Peter McGauran
&
South Australian Minister for Environment and Conservation
The Hon Gail Gago MLC
&
South Australian Minister for The River Murray
The Hon Karlene Maywald MP

28 August 2006

Millions in funding for South Australian regions


Reducing salt in the River Murray, protecting the nationally endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot and coastal health checks are just some of the many projects being funded across South Australia through a major $54 million package announced today by the Australian Government and the South Australian Government.

This latest round of regional funding from the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAP) and the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust brings the total regional investment in South Australia to date from these programmes to $190 million.

Australian Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran, said funding for the State's eight regions would support ongoing and new projects in 2006-07 and 2007-08.

"For example, in the South East, ‘corridors' with be created to link vegetation patches for species for Bandicoots and Sugar Gliders.  Other work will help the nationally endangered South-eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo to access nesting sites.  This is critical work - less than 1,000 of these birds remain in the wild."

Mr McGauran said Kangaroo Island's primary producers would benefit from activities to improve water quality and deal with feral pest control.

"Lucerne and other perennial pastures over more than 1,000 hectares of land will filter nutrients while also lowering groundwater recharge," Mr McGauran said.

"Another project will control feral animals like deer, goats and pigs, which cause havoc on the Island's farms and protected areas.  A bait trial shows up to 80% of the pig population could be reduced with ongoing work.

"In the State's north, the South Australian Arid Lands and Alinytjara Wilurara regions will tackle weeds by treating thousands of hectares for highly invasive boxthorn as well as controlling feral animals like camels, rabbits, cats and foxes."

SA Minister for Environment and Conservation, Gail Gago, said the two year funding package will help protect and manage natural resources like water and soil, control pest plants and animals.  It will also be boosted by other cash and in-kind contributions from the South Australian Government.

Minister Gago said, "The funding will be administered by the eight Natural Resources Management Boards set up to provide a more integrated to protecting our natural resources for future generations."

SA Minister for  the River Murray, Karlene Maywald, said, the funding will also help reduce the amount of salt entering the Murray.

"The salt interception schemes at Murtho, Chowilla and other parts of the river are carefully designed and monitored to ensure we're getting healthier water for irrigators and for our environment," Minister Maywald said.

Minister Gago said, "The Southern Brown Bandicoot is South Australia's last remaining naturally occurring species of bandicoot.

"The creation of habitat corridors in the South East will link isolated populations and make it easier for the bandicoots to find a mate.  This is important project will be administered by the SE Natural Resources Management Board"

"With salinity in particular we need a long-term, coordinated effort, so we're working together through the National Action Plan programme," Minister Gago said.

"For example, in Northern & Yorke the South Australian Government is helping fund salinity projects ranging from water quality monitoring to community education.

"We're also supporting Natural Heritage Trust projects like the Eyre Peninsula's coastal habitat audit and stabilising dunes along beaches around Adelaide.

"I'd like to congratulate the regional NRM boards, landholders, community groups, volunteers and Traditional Owners on their work so far and wish them well with the work ahead."

For more information about natural resource management in South Australia visit  www.nrm.sa.gov.au  For more information about natural resource management across Australia visit  www.nrm.gov.au  For more information about the Southern Brown Bandicoot visit http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/biodiversity/bandicoot.html

Media contacts:
Minister Campbell: Marianne McCabe (02) 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Minister McGauran: Nancy Joseph (02) 6277 7520
Minister Gago: Richard Lower 0419 0838 646
Minister Maywald: Deanna Lush


Summary of activities under the NAP & Trust package for South Australia's Natural Resources Management regions

NHT funds are matched by cash and in-kind contributions by the South Australian Government. Funding is for two years except in the SA Arid Lands (one year).

SA Murray Darling Basin ($28.56 million NAP & Trust): key activities include reducing salt loads in the Murray River; a crop survey for River Murray private diverters; native fish surveys above Wellington to find out about distribution and numbers; work to protect Malleefowl and Southern Emu-Wren; fencing to conserve coastal plants; and creating new stock watering points.

South East ($3.19 million NAP & Trust): key activities include work to reduce salinity at Sandy's Hut; weed control; habitat corridors to link isolated populations of Southern Brown Bandicoot and Sugar Gliders; protecting nesting sites for the endangered South-eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo; fencing in the Coorong District to conserve 1,500 hectares of native plants; training workshops for irrigators; and an annual school forum on biodiversity and land management..

Adelaide & Mount Lofty Ranges ($6.95 million NAP & Trust): key activities include a database to record sightings of the Southern Brown Bandicoot; weed control around threatened orchid sites; sand dune revegetation; perennial pastures to tackle salinity; creating new off-steam stock watering points; and cross-cultural workshops.
Eyre Peninsula ($3.84 million Trust): key activities include a wetland inventory; planting lucerne to reduce salinity; fox control over one million hectares; removal of bridal creeper and asparagus weed; and work to protect Brush-tailed Bettongs and the endangered Southern Emu-Wren.

Kangaroo Island ($2.24 million NAP & Trust): key activities include a quarantine policy to keep any new pests and diseases off the Island; pig, deer and goat control; lucerne and chicory planted to filter nutrients before they enter streams; salinity management plans; soil pH monitoring in 50 paddocks; and surveying up to 100 Glossy Black Cockatoo nesting sites.

Alinytjara Wilurara ($3.26 million Trust): key activities include biological surveys of Maralinga Tjarutja lands; installing off-stream stock watering points to protect wetlands; removing pests like camels, rabbits, cats, foxes and boxthorn weed; ongoing support for traditional practices such as rock hole cleaning and patch burning; and advice and support for cattle businesses.

Arid Lands ($2.46 million Trust): key activities include fox and rabbit control; removing optunia weeds from swamps; monitoring the threatened Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby; upgrading a database on waterholes in the Flinders Ranges; and continued support for the "Water on Your Place" project, which helps landholders manage water more efficiently.

Northern & Yorke  ($3.16 million NAP & Trust): key activities include water quality testing; replanting and fencing to protect river health; salinity monitoring in the Light and Wakefield catchments; protecting coasts along the Yorke Peninsula, Upper Spencer Gulf and Upper Gulf St Vincent; reef health checks; weed and pest control; and community education.

Commonwealth of Australia