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Natural Heritage Trust

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

TRUST STEPS UP BATTLE AGAINST SALINITY IN S.A.


2 February 1998

The Howard Government has announced a major revegetation project to combat a multi-million dollar salinity problem in South Australia's south-east.

Salinity in South Australia's south east cuts an estimated $9 million from agricultural production each year - a burden felt by both the region's and the State's economies.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill and Primary Industries Minister John Anderson say it is a cost which cannot be tolerated.

Senator Hill says the Howard Government will tackle the problem through the $1.25 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

"Through the Trust we will be able to deliver $575,000 for a 'Salt to Success' project to address existing and potential dryland salinity in the Naracoorte area.

"The project will target 22 500 hectares from Naracoorte to Tintinara and out to the coast and will focus on increasing the region's cover of bushland to help address dryland salinity.

"The aim is to control rising watertables and restore the area's biological resources by increasing the native vegetation and perennial pasture cover.

"The project will involve cooperation between the Commonwealth, local communities, the State government, landholders and Soil Conservation Boards," Senator Hill said.

"The stakeholders will contribute to the project both financially and by taking part in work on-the-ground.

"It is timely this announcement is being made on World Wetlands Day as the project will involve better managing the area's wetlands, including the Ramsar-listed Coorong wetland."

Mr Anderson says Salt to Success will be overseen by the South East Natural Resources Consultative Committee.

"Drainage, saltland agronomy, wetland management and revegetation were pinpointed as the four priorities in a dryland salinity and flood management plan for the Upper South East prepared in 1995," Mr Anderson said.

"While on-the-ground activity funded by Landcare is already underway to improve drainage in the area, the revegetation component will aim to promote the concept of long term planning for local landholders.

"Demonstration farms in the area will also be used to assist and educate landholders about the benefits of increased and improved vegetation cover especially salt tolerant pastures for flood and salinity management.

"The integrated suite of Natural Heritage Trust programs in the Upper South East has the potential to demonstrate the value of the Trust's regional approach."

Today's announcement brings the total of Natural Heritage Trust funding for South Australia to more than $18 million for this financial year. More than $15 million is to come from programs such as Bushcare, Rivercare and Murray Darling 2001, all of which contain elements addressing salinity and revegetation.

Applications for funding from the Trust for 1998-99 close on 6 March 1998. The application guidelines can be obtained by calling toll free 1800 803 772.

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

Commonwealth of Australia