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Media Release
Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministers
for the Environment, Sport, Territories
and Local Government

Budget Delivers Rescue for North Queensland

13th May 1997

North Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald tonight welcomed the Howard Government's environmental rescue package detailed in the 1997-98 Federal Budget.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, Senator Macdonald said that the package is a huge boost to efforts to protect and restore North Queensland's natural environment.

"The 1997-98 Budget has been increased by $61 million from last year's total of $194 million," Senator Macdonald said.

"Australia's largest ever environment package - The Natural Heritage Trust - will tackle Queensland's biggest environment problems."

Senator Macdonald said that the Howard Government has delivered on that election promise in full - despite the opposition of the Labor Party, the Democrats and the Greens."

"The Howard Government has not only honoured its promise, but allocated a further $100 million to the initial $1 billion commitment."

"Queensland environmental projects are expected to feature prominently in the $1.75 billion funding to be spent by the Federal Government on Trust related programs over the next five years," Senator Macdonald said.

In addition to World Heritage Funding, the Trust will deliver in six key areas:

Vegetation: North Queensland will benefit from the Howard Government's $46.6 million to be spent on vegetation related programs across Australia during 1997-98. $40.6 million of these funds have been allocated to "Bushcare." Senator Macdonald said that "Bushcare" will provide the coordination of vegetation initiatives sadly lacking in the former Government's approach to revegetation.

Biodiversity: "North Queensland's unique biodiversity will benefit from two new Natural Heritage Trust Projects - the $11 million National Reserve System and the $4.3 million Endangered Species Program," Senator Macdonald said.

Land: A total of $125.8 million has been allocated in 1997-98 to Trust related programs to help conserve our precious land resources. Through the Natural Heritage Trust, the Federal Government will provide a $35 million boost to the National Landcare Program, $5 million National Weed Strategy, the $3.7 million National Feral Animals Control Strategy, the $3 million Advanced Property Management Planning assistance for farmers and the $7.5 million National Land and Water Audit.

Rivers: Queensland will benefit from the allocation of $12.4 million in 1997-98 to the Natural Heritage Trust's National Rivercare Initiative. The Howard Government has also allocated $29.5 million as the first instalment of the $163 million Murray Darling 2001 Initiative.

Coast and Seas: Following the Howard Government's commitment to develop Australia's first comprehensive Oceans Policy, $27.4 million has been allocated to Coast and Oceans Programs in 1997-98.

For further information, contact Brad Robinson on 06 277 3665 or 0418 673 600

Commonwealth of Australia