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Natural Heritage Trust
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Media Release
Joint Statement by Minister for the Environment, Robert Hill, and
Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, John Anderson

MORE TRUST MONEY TO GO TO COMMUNITY GROUPS


18 December 1997

Australia's biggest ever environmental rescue effort continues to gain pace as community groups prepare for second year funding under the Howard Government's Natural Heritage Trust.

Environment Minister Robert Hill and Primary Industries Minister John Anderson today released updated and simplified guidelines which enable community groups to apply for many millions of dollars in Trust funding available for 1998/99.

"In 1997-98, the Coalition Government will expend more than $186 million, with an expected $290 million to be provided in 1998-99," said Mr Anderson.

The Ministers said $1.25 billion would go to environment programs over the life of the Trust, with an emphasis for on-ground community projects.

"The new guidelines have been simplified to make it even easier for community groups to apply," said Senator Hill.

"The groups can submit just one form whether they are applying for funding from Landcare, Bushcare, Rivercare, Waterwatch Australia or the Murray-Darling 2001 programs.

"By making the application process a one-stop shop, community groups are able to avoid red tape when applying for funding."

The Ministers said an approach that empowered communities to address their local environmental problems was at the heart of the Natural Heritage Trust.

"The Government believes that essential environment repair work is best conducted at a local level by the people living and working in the regions," said Mr Anderson.

"The Natural Heritage Trust builds on the strong commitment of local communities to protect and restore the environment.

"Substantially increased funding for activities such as Landcare will contribute to the sustainable management of land, water, vegetation and biodiversity.

"This means the community is protecting the environment while securing the future for our great rural industries," Mr Anderson said.

The closing date for community group applications is Friday, March 6, 1998.

All interested groups are urged to apply. Applications forms and Guidelines are available from the offices of Federal Members of Parliament or on the Internet at http://www.nht.gov.au/funds.html

18 December, 1997

Contact:
Matt Brown (Senator Hill) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515
Rob Haynes (Mr Anderson) 02 6277 7520 or 0419 493 511

Commonwealth of Australia