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The Hon. Peter Garrett MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

The Hon Tony Burke MP
Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

$403 million investment for the Australian environment & sustainable agriculture

Joint Media Release
2 July 2009

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The Rudd Government today accelerated work across Australia on environmental and sustainable farming projects, with $403 million committed under Caring for our Country.

It will be the single biggest investment over the next four years under the landmark $2 billion program.

Caring for our Country reformed the way environmental and sustainable farming projects were funded, by creating a transparent system and cutting red tape.

It coordinates projects across the country around consistent national targets which are backed by an annual business plan to focus investment and deliver maximum results.

Announcing the funding today, Environment Minister Peter Garrett and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke, said it would support local community projects through to major national initiatives, including:

These significant projects also include a landmark four-year, $19 million initiative to tackle the estimated one million feral camels that devastate Australia’s arid and semi-arid environments.

It is the most significant commitments to tackle feral camels since they were introduced in 1840 to provide transport in arid regions of Australia.

Feral camels cover an estimated 3.3 million square kilometres and cause an estimated $14 million in damage, including to fences, water troughs, bores, buildings and vegetation.

The project will cover the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia and involve natural resource management groups, conservation bodies, the pastoral industry, research organisations and state and territory governments.

It is estimated the feral camel population is doubling every nine years. This project aims to lower the population density in priority areas to less than one camel per ten square kilometres.

The $403 million will also fund:

Minister for the Environment Peter Garrett said the investment represented a major step forward for Caring for our Country.

“We have set ambitious targets for investment over the next four years through this program and given applicants a clear indication of the priorities which would guide funding decisions,” Mr Garrett said.

“This business planning process has revolutionised the way the Australian Government invests in natural resource management and has resulted in a set of very high quality, well-targeted projects being selected for funding.

“They will also see local volunteer groups; natural resource management bodies; scientists and other experts; state, territory and the Commonwealth governments working together on some of the nations biggest environmental challenges, from cane toads to feral camels.”

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said the funding recognised the leading role of Australia’s farmers in managing the land.

“Farmers are a big part of the solution to achieve a healthy, sustainable and productive environment across Australia,” Mr Burke said.

“Our primary producers are world leaders in using innovation to boost productivity and ensure they continue to feed, clothe and house families around the world.

“Not only will this funding help farmers continue their great work, it will support regional economies and jobs at the same time, which is so important during a global recession.”

Further information about these Caring for our Country investments and a full listing of all funded projects is available at www.nrm.gov.au/business-plan/funded

State by State Breakdowns

South Australia

$40 million for projects including:

Victoria

$47.3 million for projects including:

New South Wales

$109 million for projects including:

Queensland

$95.6 million for projects including:

Western Australia

$60 million for projects including:

ACT

$2.7 million for projects including:

Tasmania

$13.6 million for projects including:

Northern Territory

$13.1 million for projects including:

© Commonwealth of Australia