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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Senator Judith Troeth
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

9 April 2003

Commonwealth Provides $8.5 million for 15 Pilot EMS Projects

The Commonwealth is providing up to $8.5 million to fund 15 projects across Australia under the Environmental Management Systems National Pilot Program, the Federal Minister for Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Judith Troeth, announced today.

Dr Kemp and Senator Troeth said the pilot program honours an election commitment made by the Coalition to help Australian farmers consolidate their clean, green image, and ensure the sustainability of both their properties and the wider environment. The program is part of the Commonwealth's Natural Heritage Trust.

Senator Troeth said the program is designed to further develop environmental management systems (EMS) as innovative business tools for Australia's primary producers.

"The pilot program has already generated a lot of interest among farmers, with my department (AFFA) receiving over a hundred expressions of interest," the Senator said.

"The 15 successful projects, recommended by an independent advisory panel, represent an excellent range of industries, regions, partnerships and natural resource management issues. They incorporate a 'systems approach' to natural resource management, which will help encourage continuous improvement by employing the 'plan - do - check - review' cycle."

Dr Kemp said the projects will assess the extent to which EMS can help primary producers improve their production efficiency, the way they manage the natural resource base and whether it can help them meet growing consumer and market demands for greater environmental and quality assurance.

"Just as importantly, the projects will examine whether EMS can draw together a range of planning and informational tools, including NRM targets for catchments and best practice management where it really counts - at the enterprise level," he said.

"The projects will also give us a much better understanding of how EMS and quality assurance schemes and best management practice guides can work together.

"And they will build on the significant work already being undertaken in this area by industry, community groups, governments and individual primary producers across Australia."

Dr Kemp and Senator Troeth said the Environmental Management Systems National Pilot Program complements the recently developed National Framework for EMS in Agriculture, which provides a comprehensive guide for coordinating and supporting the voluntary use of EMS in Australia.

Information on each of the 15 pilot projects is attached.

Media Contacts:
Senator Troeth's office Allison Murphy (02) 6277 3002 or 0408 917 639
Dr Kemp's office Catherine Job (02) 62777640 or 0408 648 400

National Environmental Management Systems (EMS) Pilot Program Projects

Gippsland beef and lamb EMS
GippsBeef Pty Ltd NHT funding: $301,860
This project will build on our knowledge of using EMS to deliver regional natural resource management outcomes and to provide environmental assurance for marketing. The GippsBeef group already sells a branded produce, 'Gippsland Natural', and promotes its product as 'clean and green'. The group plans to use EMS to underpin its 'green' claims. The pilot will expand the producer alliance to 60 members, building on the work the group has already undertaken with Meat and Livestock Australia. Through the involvement of more producers, the pilot will assess the potential for EMS to deliver on regional natural resource management objectives.

Bega Cheese dairy farmers' EMS pilot program
Bega Cheese Cooperative Ltd NHT funding: $367,500
The Bega Co-operative Society Limited has been established for more than 100 years. It is wholly owned by dairy farmers in the Bega Valley and surrounding dairying districts, in south eastern NSW. The Bega Cheese EMS proposal will test EMS through the supply chain — from the farm to the factory. EMS will be implemented on 20 dairy farms and at the Bega Cheese factory. The project will measure the system's effectiveness in achieving environmental outcomes and production efficiencies. The pilot project also includes a life cycle analysis for a block of Bega Cheese to identify environmental inefficiencies from the paddock to the plate. The results of the analysis will be incorporated into the Bega Cheese EMS.

Innovation and Integration: EMS in the central Australian pastoral industry
Centralian Land Management Association NHT funding: $312,065
The Centralian Land Management Association (CLMA) was established as a land management group in the Northern Territory 14 years ago. In this project, the CLMA will develop and implement EMS on 15 cattle properties and assess the system's value in terms of improved business and environmental outcomes. The pilot will also identify EMS tools and approaches that are suited to pastoral enterprises in arid environments.

Developing dairy farmers and processor partnerships for EMS implementation
NSW Agriculture NHT funding: $379,704
NSW Agriculture will run the pilot in the dairy industry across three regions in NSW, Queensland and Victoria. The project will use EMS as a tool to help dairy farmers manage their natural resources. The project will also build on, and improve, linkages between dairy farmers and the processing sector, and examine existing and potential areas of overlap in the monitoring, documentation and recording requirements for EMS.

Linking on farm EMS with catchment targets, a farmer-catchment-government partnership in Victoria
North Central Catchment Management Authority NHT funding: $649,600
This pilot is a partnership of three catchment management authorities in Victoria, and will implement EMS on 100 farms. It builds on the Riverina EMS projects, and uses a four-tiered approach to EMS. Under this system, farmers work their way through the tiers, reaching a full EMS by the third tier. The project will examine using EMS as a tool to achieve environmental outcomes, linking on-farm action with catchment targets and outcomes. An integral part of the project is developing practical on-farm environmental monitoring tools to help farmers assess environmental outcomes.

Building King Island brand - an EMS pilot project
King Island Natural Resource Management Group NHT funding: $448,624
This pilot will examine EMS's potential to underpin the existing 'clean and green' King Island brand name. The pilot will develop and implement an EMS for 16 primary producers, and the main processors and related industries on King Island. It will also test the potential for EMS as a tool to help farmers run their businesses profitably and efficiently, while improving their natural resource base. The project will integrate best management practice and other related assurance schemes within the EMS framework.

On-farm EMS and environmental labelling in the pastoral industries
Department of Primary Industries, Queensland NHT funding: $578,453
This pilot will develop and assess an EMS for the Australian pastoral industries, including beef, sheep, game meat and wool. The pilot will particularly consider the use of EMS as a basis for credible product labelling, and marketing of premium meat and fibre products. The project will evaluate the performance of several environmental management systems on 30 pastoral properties in Queensland, ranging from a baseline EMS to an ISO14001 certified EMS.

The Mount Lofty Rangers watershed EMS project
Apple and Pear Growers' Association of South Australia NHT funding: $481,000
The Mount Lofty Ranges is an environmentally sensitive area. It provides Adelaide with drinking water and supports a valuable horticultural industry. The project will improve business sustainability through better management of environmental impacts, and increased production efficiency. It will implement EMS on at least 30 enterprises and evaluate how the system can help producers meet growing environmental demands from the market and the community, and contribute to natural resource management outcomes on a catchment scale. Issues identified through the EMS process will result in the development and implementation of property level activities and guidelines for participating growers.

Rice Environmental Champions Program - an innovative mechanism for change
Ricegrowers' Association of Australia NHT funding: $960,285
The pilot will operate in rice growing regions in NSW and Victoria. The project will develop and implement the Rice Industry's Champions Program, a tiered program based on EMS principles. It aims to ensure rice farms continue to be productive and financially sound, while minimising their impacts on the environment. The project will involve 240 farmers in three trial groups, with the results applicable to the remainder of the industry, and transferable to other industries.

Seafood EMS framework
Seafood Services Australia NHT funding: $655,186
Seafood Services Australia will manage the pilot, which will involve fishing and aquaculture enterprises implementing EMS in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. The pilot will assess the effectiveness of the seafood EMS process in helping achieve environmental, social and economic goals. The project aims to develop an industry guide on EMS implementation and identify the critical success factors for EMS adoption.

Widespread adoption, ensuring practical application and testing benefits of EMS in broad-acre farming
Mingenew-Irwin Group NHT funding: $298,240
In Western Australia, the Mingenew-Irwin Group of 60 farm enterprises plans to streamline EMS and quality assurance requirements to ensure efficient monitoring, record keeping, training and communications. The project will also assess the marketability of on-farm environmental efforts by selling Mingenew-Irwin-branded 'eco' grain products.

Blackwood EMS pilot - 'Combining profitability and sustainability'
Blackwood Basin Group NHT funding: $251,000
The Blackwood Basin Group is a community-managed landcare organisation in Western Australia. Its membership is representative of groups with an interest in catchment management in the Blackwood catchment. The Blackwood Basin project involves two sub-catchment groups testing EMS to link catchment natural resource management targets with on-farm actions. During the project, the Group will develop a master EMS plan and templates to help farmers adopt EMS.

Murray Environmental Management Systems Group
Native Dog Landcare Group NHT funding: $414,960
This pilot will form a partnership of landholders from three diverse groups in the NSW Murray Catchment, and use a group-learning model to implement EMS. The project, which includes the Riverina EMS Group, will build on the work undertaken as part of the Grains Research and Development Corporation EMS project. The pilot will expand the GRDC results into more diverse farming systems, in particular irrigated cropping. The project will also determine the extent to which EMS can help the industry increase its competitiveness and production efficiency, and meet emerging market demands for quality and environmental assurance.

ALMS EMS Pilot Trial
Australian Landcare Management System Ltd NHT funding: $571,100
The Australian Landcare Management System (ALMS) is a whole-of-farm, externally audited EMS, requiring account to be taken of catchment-wide priorities and strategies. The ALMS pilot will test the implementation of EMS across two regions with different industries, organisational capabilities and natural resource management priorities. The two regions are in Victoria and South Australia.

The development and assessment of the Cotton BMP Program into a comprehensive environmental management system through the development of a land and water module
Cotton Australia NHT funding: $602,250
Cotton Australia and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation will manage the project across three cotton growing regions in Queensland and NSW. The project will expand on the current best management practice program to include key natural resource issues and to assess the program's effectiveness in an EMS form. The industry's best management practice program is a voluntary program based on a process of continuous improvement. It uses a 'plan-do-check-review' management cycle.
Commonwealth of Australia