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

10 August 2001

Northern Rivers Landcare Forum leading the way on environment

With 180,000 hectares of New South Wales land affected by shallow watertables or dryland salinity, the Northern Rivers Regional Landcare Forum, is providing local leadership in arranging information exchange on natural resource management and the environment, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Sharman Stone said today.

"Over 150 Landcare groups are being represented at the 3 day forum, giving participants the opportunity to hear first hand from the Federal Government and key speakers on topics ranging from the future of Landcare, to managing the landscape, to making the most of sponsorship and media opportunities", Sharman Stone said.

"In this International Year of the Volunteer, the work of Landcare, 'Friends of', Greencorps and other environmental groups is making a substantial contribution to restoring, repairing and maintaining our unique biodiversity".

"The Natural Heritage Trust, the largest environmental rescue package in our history, has engaged 300,000 volunteers on over 10,000 community based projects".

Sharman Stone said that the Federal Government was investing more money than any Government since Federation for the environment, particularly in the northern rivers region.

"90 projects and over $5m have been funded under the Natural Heritage Trust, in projects as diverse as the Mt Warning Pre-School Riparian Project to Tweed Shire's Complete Vegetation Management Project and waterwatch projects monitoring the health of the coast in this region".

"The National Action Plan on Salinity and Water Quality is also targeting 4 catchments in northern half of NSW. An agreement between the Federal and NSW Governments was signed in July that will result in targets and on-ground actions commencing shortly".

Sharman Stone congratulated the Federal Member for Page, Hon Ian Causley, for the important work he has been undertaking as Chair of the House of Representatives Environment and Heritage Committee.

"Ian Causley is placing the environmental issues at the forefront of the Page electorate, and indeed the country".

* The Northern Rivers Landcare Forum is taking place at the Ballina RSL and concludes on Sunday.

For further information contact:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468
August 10th 2001

Commonwealth of Australia