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Publications archive - Annual reports


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2002-03

Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2003
ISSN 1441 9335

Review of performance - outcome one: Environment (continued)

The Natural Heritage Trust

Conserve, repair and replenish Australia's natural capital infrastructure

The Natural Heritage Trust is jointly administered by the Department of the Environment and Heritage and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

The Trust has four programs:

During 2002-03 there was a focus on completing bilateral agreements with states and territories, establishment of regional groups where they did not previously exist, capacity building and support for regional planning and funding of onground action through priority regional projects and the Australian Government Envirofund.

Detailed information on the administration of the Natural Heritage Trust is contained in the Natural Heritage Trust annual report, as required under section 43 of the Natural Heritage Trust of Australia Act 1997.

Bilateral Agreements

(Administered item)


To finalise bilateral agreements with each state/territory, which reflect agreed priorities and delivery arrangements.


Trust bilateral agreements have been signed with all states and territories other than Queensland, where an Interim Financial Agreement has been finalised to allow Trust investment in Queensland while the remaining bilateral agreement issues are resolved.

These bilateral agreements reflect the three overarching objectives of the Trust - biodiversity conservation; sustainable use of natural resources; and community capacity building and institutional change along with the shift in focus to strategic investment at three levels - national/state, regional and local.

Regional plans

(Administered item)


To accredit Integrated Regional Natural Resource Management Plans to provide the basis for investment by Commonwealth and state governments.


During 2002-03, Australian Government Ministers accredited three Integrated Regional Natural Resource Management Plans - for the Glenelg-Hopkins region in Victoria, the Mount Lofty region in South Australia and the Western region in New South Wales.

These plans identify all of the natural resource management issues in the region, set out actions to address these issues and prioritise the most important issues for action.

Accreditation followed constructive work between the Commonwealth, state/territory and regional bodies during the preparation of the plans and detailed assessment of the plans against the agreed accreditation criteria.

A steady flow of Integrated Regional Natural Resource Management Plans is expected to flow to Australian Government and state/territory ministers for accreditation in 2003-04.

Natural Heritage Trust Investments

(Administered item)


To ensure all Natural Heritage Trust investment targets Trust objectives and addresses priority areas of activity.


Investment proposals approved by Ministers under the Trust were assessed for their alignment and contribution to the objectives of the Trust and consistency with the priority areas of activity.

A total of $250 million was provided under the Trust extension in 2002-03, including $55.1 million in interim regional funding.

All investments are provided under financial agreements. The Australian Government Envirofund and national component of the Trust are provided under standard contracts, which are drafted to reflect the Trust accountability, reporting and acquittal procedures.

Investment strategies

(Administered item)


To develop investment strategies for which Australian Government funding is agreed and specified in partnership agreements.


Good progress was made during 2002-03 on the development of investment strategies in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Commonwealth officers have been working with the states, territories and regional bodies to prepare investment strategies concurrently with the development of Integrated Regional Natural Resource Management Plans.

Investment strategies are expected to be ready to put to Ministers during the first half 2003-04.

Australian Government Envirofund

(Administered item)


To provide support to individuals and community groups through Australian Government Envirofund grants.


The Australian Government Envirofund is the community component of the Natural Heritage Trust where individuals and community groups can apply for grants from a few hundred dollars up to $30 000 to carry out on-ground actions to target local problems such as water quality, protection of native vegetation, salinity and coastal erosion.

In 2002-03, 1844 projects were funded through the Australian Government Envirofund to a total of $29.94 million.

During the year there were two funding rounds including funding for priority drought recovery projects. A total of 1308 projects were funded in round one to a total of $20 million and 536 projects were funded in the drought recovery round to a total of $9.94 million.

A wide range of projects were funded in 2002-03 including fencing off waterways and remnant vegetation to protect them from damage and erosion, protecting coastal vegetation and minimising the threat of drought-induced wildfires and firestorms.