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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
Peter McGauran MP
and
Victorian Minister for Environment and Water
John Thwaites MP
and
Victorian Minister Agriculture
Bob Cameron MP

31 October 2006

$84 million to protect Victorian environment and agriculture


Environment projects across Victoria will benefit from more than $84 million in Australian and Victorian Government funding announced today.

The investment, from the Australian Government’s Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) and the Australian and Victorian Government’s National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAP), was announced today by Australian Ministers for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran; the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell; and Victorian Ministers for the Environment and Water, John Thwaites, and Agriculture, Bob Cameron.

Senator Campbell said that the funding for 10 regions in Victoria would tackle the diverse environment issues affecting the state, including threatened species, water quality, salinity and erosion.

“More than $2 million will protect and improve five of the Mallee region’s seven landscapes, including the revegetation of wildlife corridors protecting the threatened Black-eared Miner, Regent Parrot and other animals in the Mallee’s southeast,” he said.

“Another project rehabilitates salinity-affected areas on private land, while enhancing landholder skills and demonstrating sustainable land management with the guidance of the Landcare network,” Senator Campbell said.

Mr McGauran said that many of the funded projects would protect rivers and waterways across Victoria, and provide important training and support for landholders and other land managers to enhance their skills.

“In Glenelg and Portland, landholders will receive advice and assistance to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus entering our waterways, improve water quality and prevent dangerous algal blooms.

Landholders in West Gippsland will receive support to improve the management of their waterways, soils and salinity-affected land.

Mr Thwaites highlighted a community-based project raising public awareness of water quality and catchment health issues. The Waterwatch programme engages communities and schools across the State in practical local water quality monitoring.

“Another project based in the bush to Melbourne’s east will conserve and protect the critically-endangered Helmeted Honeyeater. Funding will be used to employ a field ornithologist to monitor and track the bird’s progress in the wild,” he said.

“This investment in Victoria’s environment includes recovery plan funding for scores of different threatened and endangered species across the state,” he said.

Mr Cameron said the $84 million included $4.6 million for improving sustainable irrigation in the Shepparton region, including assistance for landholders to install on-farm ground water pumps and water re-use systems.

“Many of the projects include direct action against the weeds and pest animals reducing farm productivity,” said Mr Cameron.

“These practical projects with tangible outcomes for landholders fight salinity, weeds, erosion, and other threats to their land. They build long-term farm viability and make the most of scarce water resources,” he said.

A summary of projects in the 10 regions is attached. For more information about Natural Resource Management visit www.nrm.gov.au

Media contacts:
Minister Campbell: Rob Broadfield (02) 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902
Minister McGauran: Ben Houston (02) 6277 7520 or 0413 601 303
Minister Thwaites: Geoff Fraser (03) 9651 5799 or 0407 360 256
Minister Cameron: Campbel Giles (03) 9651 5799 or 0407 972 900


Summary of activities under the NAP & Trust package for Victorian regions

NHT funds are matched by cash and in-kind contributions by the Victorian Government. Funding is for two years.

West Gippsland ($4.6 million Trust) key activities include work to protect threatened flora and fauna species; monitoring water quality to improve catchment health; development of sustainable effluent and nutrient management practices; on-ground works to protect biodiversity, cultural sites and infrastructure; education and training to improve on-farm management techniques and community involvement in a seed bank enterprise. For more information contact Martin Fuller on (03) 5157 7800.

Wimmera ($10.95 million NAP & Trust) key activities include work to improve salinity and soil conditions across the region; protecting vegetation through better management by landholders; planting and fencing to protect the habitat of the Striped Legless Lizard; community education into sustainable methods of wetland management; fencing, revegetation and off-stream watering to rehabilitate riparian land; and planting saltbush plants and trees to manage salinity. For more information contact Mark Goode on (03) 5382 1544.

Corangamite ($7.9 million NAP & Trust) key activities include fencing and revegetation to improve water quality in the Western District Lakes; stabilising the Pennyroyal Creek through grade control, weed management, revegetation and construction of erosion control structures; assisting dairy farmers to install new effluent systems and reduce the flow of effluent into catchments; revegetation, weed removal, fencing and track closures to protect sand dunes in the region. For more information contact Peter Codd on (03) 5232 9100.

Goulburn Broken ($19 million NAP & Trust) key activities include monitoring salt output from observation bores and mapping to refine groundwater flow systems in Broken Plains; restoration of degraded waterways, control of pests and planting vegetation to protect water quality and biodiversity; and revegetation, pasture establishment, fencing and off-stream erosion works to protect native vegetation across the Broken Dryland. For more information contact Megan McFarlane on (03) 5820 1100. key activities include monitoring salt output from observation bores and mapping to refine groundwater flow systems in Broken Plains; restoration of degraded waterways, control of pests and planting vegetation to protect water quality and biodiversity; and revegetation, pasture establishment, fencing and off-stream erosion works to protect native vegetation across the Broken Dryland. For more information contact Megan McFarlane on (03) 5820 1100.

Port Phillip and Westernport ($4.8million Trust) key activities include providing education and training to community groups, students and local government representatives in river health monitoring techniques; work to protect the critically-endangered Helmeted Honeyeater and threatened Eastern Barred Bandicoot; studies into reef-fish communities in Port Phillip Bay; and development of case studies into difficulties of sustainable land management in Green Wedge. For more information contact David Thomas on (03) 9785 0183.

Mallee ($8.4 million NAP & Trust) key activities include technical support to landholders and community groups to implement sustainable landscape management processes; investigation of biology, ecology and population dynamics to protect the Murray Hardyhead; upgrading irrigation systems to reduce drainage volumes and deliver environmental benefits; and work to protect and improve biodiversity through the implementation of Biodiversity Action Plans for five of the region’s seven landscape zones. For more information contact Grant Brooks on (03) 5051 4377.

North East ($2.1 Trust) key activities include works to protect, improve and revegetate important habitat through vegetation protection and lucerne establishment; developing a framework for assessing and managing climate change on natural resources in the region; and sediment and pest plant management, river stabilisation, fencing and revegetation to maintain healthy rivers and streams in the Ovens Basin. For more information contact Geoff Robinson on (03) 6043 7600.

North Central ($14.9 million NAP & Trust) key activities include groundwater monitoring of wetlands to develop integrated Wetland Operational Plans; gully rehabilitation, native vegetation protection, revegetation and riparian protection to improve salinity management; and improving water quality and river health within the Coliban River catchment through erosion control, buffer strip establishment and vegetation protection works. For more information contact Paula Camenzuli on (03) 5440 1837.

Glenelg Hopkins ($9.1 million NAP & Trust) key activities include on-ground works to remove deciduous tree weeds and plant native vegetation to improve water quality in the Wannon and Glenelg Rivers; development of strategies to protect and conserve threatened species including the Orange-bellied Parrot and the Eastern Barred Bandicoot; and works to control pests, plants and animals in an effort to implement native vegetation management, water quality and salinity control programs. For more information contact Georgie Luckock on (03) 5571 2526.

East Gippsland ($2.1 million Trust) key activities include preparing maps for future revegetation and river rehabilitation works; trials to identify sustainable methods for erosion control on the Gippsland Lakes; works to reverse long-term decline of paddock trees from dieback, clearing and lack of regeneration; development of foreshore management plans to protect coastal areas in the region; and implementation of National Recovery Plans for 16 nationally threatened species including the Long-footed Potoroo and Buchan Blue Wattle. For more information contact Russell Broomhall on (03) 5150 3566.

Commonwealth of Australia