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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

Waterwatch Funding Comes On-stream


20 October 1996
(132/96)

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says an increasing number of Australians are becoming involved in monitoring and managing their local waterways.

Senator Hill has announced the allocation of $934 000 for 1996 97 Waterwatch Australia activities, while launching Hobart's new 'Drains to the Bay' project.

The event marks the launch of National Water Week.

Senator Hill says Waterwatch Australia provides funds to support and promote community involvement in managing our waterways.

"The New Town Bay Catchment Care Group is just one example of the numerous projects around Australia.

"The group will be stencilling water-side entry pits to the Derwent River, from Hobart to the Central Highlands, with the message 'Drains to the Bay. When you rubbish the streets, you rubbish the river.

"I am pleased to present this group with a cheque for $5 000 to expand their work in the catchment.

Senator Hill says that during National Water Week the focus is not just on reducing Australia's consumption of water but on taking action to improve and maintain water quality.

"Community support of Waterwatch is growing rapidly, particularly in schools, which shows there is an increasing awareness that water is a precious resource which must be used in a more sustainable way.

"Waterwatch Australia funding this year will provide ongoing support to existing Waterwatch programs throughout Australia and enable it to expand into new water catchments in every State and Territory.

"With the establishment of the Natural Heritage Trust, the Government will fund the National Rivercare Initiative with the primary objective of conserving and restoring Australia's rivers.

"This initiative will receive $85 million over five years, and should see a turn around in the water problems being experienced right across the country at present.

Since Waterwatch began in 1993, it has grown nationally to involve close to 1 150 water quality monitoring groups operating in 86 catchments. More than 30 000 people are regularly involved with the program at nearly 4,000 sites nationally.

National Water Week runs from 20-27 October 1996 and will include a wide range of activities across Australia aimed at raising awareness of the nation's water resources and the need to maintain sufficient and high quality water supplies.

A list of the Waterwatch Australia funding recipients for 1996-97 is attached.

Contact:

Matt Brown, Senator Hill, 06 277 7640; 0419 693 515

Alison Russell French, Department, 06 250 0223


Attachment 1

1996-7 Federal Government Allocations Under the Waterwatch Australia Program

Attachment 2

State/Territory Facilitators

Commonwealth of Australia