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

1 October 1999


Community groups throughout Victoria will benefit significantly from additional funding from the Federal Government's $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

Sharman Stone MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage, today announced $38,425,014 million would be invested in 450 Natural Heritage Trust projects throughout Victoria during 1999-2000, the vast majority in rural and regional communities.

Sharman Stone announced details of the Natural Heritage Trust grants for rural and regional Victoria on-site at the Ballarat to Barwon, Leigh Catchment Management Project, a joint Bushcare/Rivercare project involving 24 Landcare Groups, three local councils, regional water and catchment management authorities, school students, Greening Australia, the State and Federal Government.

"This is a fantastic result for rural and regional Victorians and a record investment in our state's unique natural resources. "

"For years country Victorian's, in particular our farmers, have been leading the pack when it comes to ecologically sustainable natural resource management and development. The amount of this year's funding being invested in rural and regional areas - about 93% of statewide funds or $35,735,263 million - is a great testament to the hard-work, ingenuity and commitment of rural and regional Victorian's over many years," Sharman Stone said.

"This is the third year the Trust has funded community groups for on-ground works with the dual goals of sustainable agriculture and conservation of Australia's unique biodiversity."

"Success of the Natural Heritage Trust depends heavily on strong community involvement in identifying local environmental and natural resource management problems and developing local solutions. This marvellous working partnership is bringing together the efforts of individuals, communities and all tiers of government and is targeting environmental problems at their source."

"The Federal Government is delighted with the commitment that local communities are making through Trust-funded projects already being undertaken, and with the number of new applications."

"The size of this year's investment clearly demonstrates the success of the Government's approach in helping communities to address their local environmental issues."

This year the Federal Government committed a further $250 million to the Natural Heritage Trust bringing its total investment in environmental works to $1.5 billion over 6 years.

Dr Stone said the quality and number of community applications for Natural Heritage Trust funding was a great endorsement of the Trust and built on the results achieved in the first two years of its operation.

"Many community groups have reapplied for further funding and are providing excellent models for new groups committed to working for a better environment."

"The $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust is the single largest investment in the environmental future of Australia by any Australian Government," Sharman Stone said.

"To date the Trust has had a significant impact on some of Victoria's most serious environmental problems. This year community projects will be helping to monitor and improve water quality; restore environmental flows and native fish stocks to our state's creeks and streams; replant native vegetation to help reduce dry-land salinity, prevent erosion and provide food and shelter for native animals; erect fencing; and develop sustainable agricultural techniques to maximise production across the Murray-Darling Basin."

"All these initiatives are carefully planned and assessed according to local and regional priorities to ensure they have the maximum long-term effect possible."

"Today's announcement is an important opportunity to recognise the natural resource management activities of individuals and organisations throughout rural and regional Victoria. It's a chance to say thanks for your outstanding efforts to date and keep up the good work over the forthcoming year," Sharman Stone said.

The Natural Heritage Trust is administered jointly by the Minister for Environment and Heritage Senator the Hon Robert Hill and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, The Hon Warren Truss MP. This year $320 million will be invested nationally on Natural Heritage Trust projects.

For further information please contact:
Nicole Johnston, Assistant Adviser, 0419 219 415 or 02 6277 2016

Note: Attached are examples of new Victorian projects and a breakdown of program funding.

Commonwealth of Australia