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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

11 October 2001

New environment spending to benefit Echuca and region


Federal Member for Murray, Sharman Stone, today presented members of the Campaspe West Implementation Group a special certificate acknowledging their receipt of a Federal grant to continue their excellent work in protecting local land and water resources.

"I am pleased to announce that the Federal Government's Natural Heritage Trust will contribute $44,000 over the next 12 months to protect some of the most productive dairying regions in Victoria, at Campaspe West", Sharman Stone said.

"The Campaspe West Plan area covers an area of 5,700 hectares with 75 landholders involved in works to reduce the effects of salinity on the region's production and reputation as the 'foodbowl' of the nation".

"The main purpose of this Natural Heritage Trust grant is to reduce groundwater levels and the impacts of salinity, improve irrigation water use efficiency, protect and improve biodiversity and improve farm productivity across the Campaspe West and Rochester Irrigation Areas", Sharman Stone said.

"The funds will be spent on laser grading, the installation of groundwater pumps, channel and drain upgrades and other salinity mitigation works. 45 of the 75 landholders in the plan area have completed 'whole farm plans', ensuring that individual farm works fit into regional and district drainage and salinity control measures".

Sharman Stone said that the Campaspe West project formed part of a $10 million commitment by the Federal Government to environmental and natural resource spending in the electorate of Murray this year.

"This means that since 1996, $47 million has been allocated to the Murray electorate from the Natural Heritage Trust - that is more funding than any other electorate in Australia".

"The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority is also one of the first parts of Australia to administer a devolved grant. Nearly $9 million has been granted to the CMA to deal out smaller projects in priority locations across the catchment.

"As this will be administered locally, rather than via the State or Canberra, funds get to the areas that need it with less red-tape and form filling", Sharman Stone said.

"Our local water and catchment authorities, environmental volunteers, Landcare Groups and land mangers continue to lead the way in protecting the nation's land and water resources".

"The Murray electorate is not only a foodbowl, but is showing the rest of the country how to farm sustainably and protect our great natural resource assets".

Contact:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468
October 11, 2001

Commonwealth of Australia