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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
David Kemp
Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Warren Truss
Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment
Bryan Green

17 July 2003

Embargoed Until 7 pm

Agreement Provides $25 Million of Commonwealth Funding for Tasmania

The Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments have signed a bilateral agreement that will provide more than $25 million to deliver the extension of the Commonwealth Government's Natural Heritage Trust in Tasmania.

"Under the $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust program, Commonwealth funding, matched by Tasmanian contributions will be used to manage and improve biodiversity, sustainable natural resource management and build Tasmanian community capacity," the Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage," Dr David Kemp said.

"This agreement builds on the success of the first six years of the Natural Heritage Trust and commits governments and regional communities to work together to better manage and protect Tasmania's vegetation, water, wetlands, and coasts."

The Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Mr Warren Truss, said that this Agreement strikes a balance between conservation and sustainable land management as key issues affecting rural industries and farming communities in Tasmania.

"Today's announcement takes the Trust into a new phase that focuses on regional delivery of local solutions for local problems. Communities are empowered and given resources to address critical environmental issues based on sound science and good knowledge, taking into account the social, economic and environmental impacts of the issues on regional communities," Mr Truss said.

The bulk of the funding will be delivered to regions based on priorities identified by the community in their regional natural resource management (NRM) strategies.

In addition to assisting Tasmania's newly formed regional NRM Committees to prepare regional strategies, the Commonwealth Government's Natural Heritage Trust will fund World Heritage Area management and other activities such as threatened species and wetlands conservation, and the extension of water management planning.

The Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment, Mr Bryan Green said that under the bilateral agreement, the Commonwealth will provide financial assistance to implement historic changes to vegetation management in Tasmania that he recently announced. These changes protect rare, vulnerable and endangered forest and non-forest vegetation communities across Tasmania.

Mr Green said that rare, endangered and vulnerable forest communities on private land would be protected through Tasmania's existing Forest Practices System.

Mr Green said that, rare, endangered and vulnerable non-forest vegetation communities on private land can be protected through voluntary landholder vegetation management agreements and local government planning schemes. The State Government would be working closely with local government on this over the coming months.

"Private landholders will be able to continue sustainable use of non-forest vegetation communities such as grazing so long as the conservation values are maintained," Mr Green said.

Minister Kemp said under the new Agreement, the Commonwealth was pleased to commit a further $1.7 million in Trust funding to two Tasmanian projects that will assist landholders and local government to implement these changes and commended the Tasmanian Government for taking this significant step to improve sustainable natural resource management.

Commonwealth of Australia