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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage

2 August 2000

NHT training initiative to build on strengths of Rural and Regional Australia

Dr Sharman Stone MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage, officially launched the first Natural Heritage Trust short course at the Rural Industries Training Centre in Hamilton today.

The Building Regional Capacity: natural resource management short course has been funded from the Federal Government's Natural Heritage Trust to help develop the skills and expertise of community members who work on Trust programs such as Landcare, Bushcare, Coastcare, and Farm Forestry.

"This course is aimed at increasing the ability of regional communities to identify and solve local natural resource issues related to the conservation and preservation of our unique natural resources and agriculture", Dr Stone said.

A pilot program has been developed and will be delivered in eight regions around Australia: NSW - Hunter-Central Coast, ACT and Upper Murrumbidgee River Catchment, Tasmania, SA - South East, Vic Glenelg Hopkins, NT-Alice Springs and WA- Northern Agriculture region.

"By committing funding to train people working with land, water and vegetation in rural and regional Australia the Federal Government is recognising the important work that community leaders, assessment panel members, key community volunteers facilitators and coordinators are engaged in".

The content of the course has been tailored to regional needs. Skills fundamental to supporting community groups - such as communication processes, group facilitation, better knowledge of regional strategies and policies, secession planning and project monitoring review and evaluation - will be addressed in all courses. Other topics include increasing understanding of indigenous and cross-cultural issues.

"The great thing about the Natural Heritage Trust short course is that community members who complete the course will have the opportunity to be assessed for a Diploma in Natural Resource Management (Community Programs)", Sharman Stone said.

"The course will provide rural and regional Australia with invaluable skills and training to take back into their local regions".

For further information please contact:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468 or 02 6277 2016
August 2 2000

Commonwealth of Australia