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Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage
30 January 2001
The Federal Member for Murray, Sharman Stone today presented a cheque for $56,000 to the Loddon and Gannawarra Shire Councils in a ceremony at Serpentine, to help fund a Landcare Co-ordinator in the region to provide support, training, education and co-ordination of on-ground works across the two shires.
"20 Landcare Groups across the two shires will be able to draw on the advice, assistance and information that a Landcare Co-ordinator can provide. The Co-ordinator will also represent the various groups and develop a communications network across catchments, local government areas, water authorities and State and Federal Government departments", Sharman Stone said.
"The great thing about having a dedicated individual to deal with all the paperwork, bureaucracy, meetings and form filling is that it allows the Landcare Groups to do what they know best - that is, repairing, restoring and improving our precious environment and natural resources".
Sharman Stone said that the Landcare Co-ordinator was funded through the Federal Government's $1.5b Natural Heritage Trust and would result in over 5,000 hours of volunteer work go into improving the local landscape.
"Landcare Groups in the Gannawarra and Loddon Shires are already involved in a range of activities, from on-farm nutrient management to remnant vegetation enhancement and protection to pest, plant and animal control. The new Landcare position will ease the administrative burden that groups are often confronted with and give them access to strategic advice and information".
"This new grant complements Federal Government funding for the New Mediterranean Regional Assistance Project, which Loddon, Gannawarra and Bendigo Shires are all benefiting from. The New Mediterranean project is making sure that the regions agricultural produce is marketed and promoted as widely as possible. In addition, the Loddon-Murray 2000 program is offering leadership courses and the development of innovative agricultural and cultural support packages across the region".
Sharman Stone said that these programs were important as land and water degradation was costing Australia $3.5b a year, however the Federal Government was tackling the issue on a number of fronts.
"The Landcare Groups in Northern Victoria will also play a central role in the National Action Plan on Salinity and Water Quality which is targeting the Avoca, Loddon and Campaspe River catchments with extra assistance to combat rising salinity and water quality problems".
"I would also encourage local groups interested in obtaining Natural Heritage Trust funding for 2001-2002 to contact my office on 1800 633 421 urgently, as applications for new funding close in February".