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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon. Dr David Kemp
&
Warren Truss Commonwealth Minister for Agriculture
&
Kim Chance Western Australian Minister for Agriculture
&
Dr Judy Edwards Western Australian Minister for Environment

19 June 2003

$12.7 million for Environment Projects in Western Australia


Regional Western Australia will benefit from extensive environmental work to soon take place backed with more than $12.7 million in Federal Government funding under the Natural Heritage Trust.

The funding - announced today by Federal Environment Minister, Dr David Kemp, Western Australian Environment Minister, Dr Judy Edwards, Federal Agriculture Minister, Warren Truss, and Western Australian Agriculture Minister, Kim Chance - comes under phase 2 of the Trust and will be matched by the WA Government.

The Commonwealth funding is the first released under a bilateral agreement signed between the Commonwealth and State Governments last December that will deliver almost $42.74 million over three years to better manage and protect Western Australia’s water, vegetation, wetlands, and coasts.

Dr Kemp said funding would flow through to Western Australia’s six Natural Resource Management groups in the South Coast, Avon, Northern Agriculture, South West, Swan and Rangelands regions.

"These six regional groups are the key players in delivering real and sustainable outcomes in Western Australia under the Natural Heritage Trust," Dr Kemp said.

"Of the $12.7 million allocated for Western Australia, more than $5 million will help regional groups develop an integrated regional natural resource management strategy that will identify the key priorities for action in their region.

"This strategy will form the basis of a regional natural resource management strategy, through which governments will make future funding investments in the regions through the Natural Heritage Trust extension.

"Getting local communities involved in this planning process is essential so the regional groups will consult widely throughout their area to make sure the strategy and investment plan address all issues of concern."

WA Agriculture Minister, Kim Chance, said regional groups were making good progress with their natural resource management planning and the Commonwealth funding will help regions have their strategies accredited in the next 12 months.

"These strategies will assist in guiding investment in the management of our natural assets in the long term," Mr Chance said.

"The Natural Heritage Trust extension is based on partnerships between all levels of community and governments, working together to protect our environment and natural resources, and sustain our agricultural industries and regional communities."

Federal Agriculture Minister, Warren Truss, said the Natural Heritage Trust was driven by regional plans developed and implemented by local communities across Australia using the best available science to improve natural resource management.

"There are now more than 60 natural resource management regions throughout Australia and a regional plan will be developed for each," Mr Truss said.

WA Environment Minister, Judy Edwards, said the funds would also include $7 million to help regions continue activities that addressed pressing natural resource management issues.

These include:

A further $710,000 in Trust funding will be invested in projects that have a widespread impact across the state or more than one region. These projects are aimed at encouraging local government involvement in regional natural resource management, helping local communities manage their local marine and coastal environments, and a coordinated approach to threatened species recovery across the state’s south-west.

Dr Edwards said the $25 million in Trust funding was announced following a thorough review of public submissions and advice from a State Investment Committee chaired by a community representative and with a majority of community-based members.

Details of the projects announced today are attached. More information about the Natural Heritage Trust is available at www.nht.gov.au.


Regional Priority Action Projects

South Coast $1,354,656

Contact: Kristina Fleming, South Coast Regional Initiative Planning Team (08) 9892 8494

$73,000 to implement the Gilbert’s Potoroo Recovery Plan. Gilbert’s Potoroo is critically endangered and limited to a population of 30 animals at Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve near Albany. Through community education and participation and involvement of community groups, government agencies and universities, this project will enhance the protection of the potoroo population and its habitat, monitor numbers, survey for further populations, develop the means to increase numbers of populations and individuals.

$99,850 to achieve biodiversity outcomes on a landscape scale. To develop and commence implementation of a community-owned pilot biodiversity planning and communication project on the south coast in partnership with key stakeholders.

$111,603 for the recovery of critically endangered flora and threatened ecological communities. This projects aims to implement essential recovery actions for 13 critically endangered species, one critically endangered threatened ecological community and one endangered threatened ecological community. Recovery actions include pest control, survey and monitoring, research into the fire ecology of threatened ecological communities and cultivation and translocation of selected species.

$49,990 to provide hydrological support for natural resource and salinity management in the region’s east. Provide stakeholders with technically sound hydrological and salinity data, information and support for the development of a natural resource management plan. Stakeholders will be provided documented information on the hydrological risks, their implications and the sustainable management options available to manage them and their impacts

$40,500 to implement of the Dibbler recovery plan. The Dibbler is a small carnivorous marsupial, known only from the Fitzgerald River National Park and small islands in Jurien Bay. This collaborative project will improve the security of the known populations, search for other populations and increase numbers of individuals and populations though captive breeding and reintroductions into suitable protected mainland habitat.

$10,700 to manage and conserve regionally significant high priority wetlands. The target wetlands include Two People’s Bay and Roberts Swamp Catchment. This project will coordinate and facilitate the Green Skills NHT Regional Wetland program which will provide a primary source of wetlands information and advice to regional NRM planning and increase regional understanding of the environmental, social and economic values and threats to regionally significant wetlands in priority areas through a catchment based, community focussed program.

$150,000 to develop a recovery plan for the Western Ground Parrot. The Western Ground Parrot is endangered and recent survey data obtained by Birds Australia and the Friends of the Ground Parrot suggest the species is declining and meets the critically endangered criteria. The objectives are to develop a recovery plan, determine causes of decline, develop translocation techniques and monitor south coast populations.

$74,900 to use sandalwood to protect biodiversity and agricultural sustainability. This builds on previous Natural Heritage Trust work to further the uptake of profitable revegetation in the south coast region by promoting biodiverse host plantations for sandalwood production

$60,000 for the Noisy Scrub Bird recovery project. This project will continue recovery actions carried out under the Noisy Scrub-bird Recovery Plan. Female Noisy Scrub-birds will be captured at Two Peoples Bay and released to singing males in the Darling Range. In addition, Scrub-Bird populations will be surveyed in the Albany area and Darling Range.

$634,738 for South Coast strategic actions. This will provide:

$49,375 to support voluntary workers in coastal areas. A ‘Coastal Management Specification Manual’ will be developed to address a lack of on-ground coastal management and site planning expertise among voluntary coastal management groups and workers within the region. This has resulted in people being apprehensive about getting involved in coastal management works. The manual will provide design and construction assistance for coastal amenities and improvements.

Avon $653,070

Contact: Rob Edkins Avon Catchment Council (08) 9690 2257

$152,820 for Woodland Watch - managing and protecting nave vegetation types in the Wheatbelt. The project will enhance the conservation of eucalypt woodlands in the Wheatbelt through the negotiation and implementation of a range of conservation covenants, joining Land for Wildlife, signing voluntary management agreements and land acquisition.

$100,000 for a seed management resource centre for the Avon River basin. This will address a lack of local provenance and native seed supply in the Avon region as well as the lack of skills and resources available for effective seed management. It will form the foundations of a Seed Management Services program designed to provide a comprehensive range of services relating to seed supply and use.

$29,500 to implement the Narrogin district threatened flora management program. The project involves implementing urgent recovery actions of six species of critically endangered or endangered flora known to occur within the Avon Catchment.

$214,500 for Living Landscapes: integrating nature conservation actions into the agricultural landscape. The project focuses on people working together to rehabilitate their local landscape to maximise ecological needs within the constraints of the agricultural production system.

$27,000 to implement recovery actions for threatened species and an ecological community in the Katanning district. The proposal seeks funding to implement urgent recovery actions for eight critically endangered flora species and one critically endangered threatened ecological community that occur within the Avon Catchment.

$87,250 for Avon Waterways Action. This project will focus on the priorities related to waterways defined by the Avon Catchment Council’s regional NRM strategy and the associated Avon River Management Authority’s Management Programme. These priorities ensure that any future actions on waterways are strategic and based on community values.

$42,000 to develop and implement a biodiversity management plan for the Tarin Rock target landscape area. This project is aimed at maintaining and conserving the current biodiversity of the area to ensure its long term viability.

Northern Agriculture $852,920

Contact: John Braid, Northern Agricultural Catchments Council 0427 088297

$355,460 for sustainable water resource management. The project adopts a regional approach to protect and sustainably manage the regions water resources. It will complement key regional activities in community river care support and community awareness and management of groundwater resources in the West Midlands and aim to conduct strategic and on-ground work of regional priority.

$152,460 for community protection and management of biodiversity assets. This project will introduce and pilot two methodologies aimed at engaging the community in the protection of natural resource assets. In the first year the project focuses on the assets at immediate risk where there is strong community support for their protection. It includes endangered species management, management and monitoring of threats to vegetation, and implementation of best practice land management.

$345,000 for the Central West Coast Marine Biodiversity and Conservation Program. This project seeks to provide a framework through which local communities and the lead agency can joint to undertake a series of projects aimed at developing and providing essential time-critical baseline date collection, education and monitoring projects. These projects will cover issues ranging from strategies for the Central Coast and the Batavia coast to developing baseline information for the proposed Jurien Marine Park.

South West $1,001,510

Contact: James Dee, South West Catchments Council (08) 9752 1688

$100,000 for the Dumbleyung strategic water management strategy. This project is based on filling in the gaps from the completed Dumbleyung Strategic Water Management Plan.

$36,000 for regional surface water management support. Provides technical support on surface water management and drainage within the region. The project will contribute essential technical surface water management support for developing farm plans, sub-catchment water management plans, and surface water strategies to address specific surface water management and erosion issues

$227,500 for Peel-Harvey Rivercare Action. This will support and lead continued river restoration and protection works in the Peel-Harvey Catchment and include three elements; progressing the work of the Harvey River Restoration Trust; river action planning and implementation for the Murray River; and extension of drainage best management practices in the Serpentine River

$153,000 for strategic support in the Blackwood Basin. Providing strategic support throughout the Basin including communications, identifying economic incentives and spatial information management.

$30,640 for the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council administration. The objective is to help the Council in developing and implementing the Regional Strategy and to support NRM activities in the subregion.

$54,000 for the Peel-Harvey ICLEI Water Campaign. This project will bring all of the Peel-Harvey catchment local governments together on one NRM project. It will fill information gaps on the community’s water values, needs and consumption by expanding the existing Peel Region Water Campaign to cover the whole catchment.

$145,000 for the Western Dairying for Tomorrow project - sustaining our natural resources. This project will involve work with dairy farmers to develop and implement agreed dairy best management practices focussing on the regional issues of effluent management, nutrient management and water use efficiency.

$255,370 for the conservation and management of regional biodiversity priorities. The project aims to protect key regional biodiversity assets. It comprises five components: recovery of threatened flora and threatened ecological communities, protection of threatened flora and threatened ecological communities, Blackwood biodiversity strategic targeted incentives project, the Tarin Rock incentives project and the Blackwood weeds strategy and action plan.

Swan $1,229,120

Contact: Damian Crilly, Swan Catchment Council (08) 9374 3302

$296,500 for recovery actions for nine threatened ecological communities. The project will implement the most urgent actions listed in the Interim Recovery Plans to prevent the further decline of nine threatened ecological communities.

$434,212 for community support roles - catchment groups. Provide critical technical and operational natural resource management support to community groups to ensure on-ground objectives are achieved and critical community momentum is maintained in this interim year.

$238,100 for the Perth biodiversity project (phase one completion). Provide councils and their partnering community groups with biodiversity planning guidelines, bushland mapping and bushland information templates. Give assistance and incentives to councils and community groups to use these tools to inform councils’ decision-making processes and in the preparation of the Swan Regional NRM Strategy

$119,400 for the Western Swamp Tortoise recovery plan. This will implement one year of the ongoing recovery plan for the Western Swamp Tortoise, which is the world’s most endangered tortoise, by creating at least three wild populations and doubling the total number of individuals.

$140,908 for Community Education and Training. This project aims to maintain community momentum and capacity building in Natural Resource Management (NRM) in the Swan Region through three sub projects - Skills for Nature Conservation Program, Groundwater Education and Training and River Restoration Training.

Rangelands $1,746,840

Contact: Kel Baldock, Rangelands NRM Coordinating Group (08) 9455 5455

$600,000 for ecologically sustainable rangeland management in the Southern Rangelands. This project aims to move the pastoral industry towards ecologically sustainable pastoral management, that builds on work undertaken in the Gascoyne-Murchison region. It provides the necessary follow-up to pastoralists who have been visited only once, and expands the complete program into the remainder of the Southern Rangelands region.

$295,000 for the Kimberley Regional Fire Management Project. This is a community driven strategic approach encouraging responsibility for improved fire regimes by land managers in respect to erosion and reduction of wildfires. It involves improving fire management and control skills, identifying biodiversity at risk from fires and improving understanding of fire issues in the Kimberley region.

$15,000 for restoration of the Murchison River. This project continues restoration work by eight neighbouring pastoral properties, to protect and restore the Murchison River. Restoration involves fencing over 190,000ha of fragile river land systems over three years enabling grazing control and River sustainability.

$175,000 for integrating marine water quality objectives into regional planning, multiple-use management and ecologically sustainable development on the north west shelf. This project seeks to secure broad community and stakeholder support and a formal, cross-sectoral agreement of statutory agencies to integrate a common set of marine quality objectives into regional planning, multiple-use management and ecologically sustainable development strategies on the North West Shelf.

$124.690 to improve environmental management in the Ord region. The project addresses issues that threaten aspects of community sustainability such as loss of biodiversity, land misuse and water quality degradation through implementation of the Ord Land and Water Management Plan. It also proposes to reduce the risks to the riverine environment of the Ord River through minimising pesticide impacts.

$270,000 for the Pilbara Bioregion Biological Survey. This will fund the first year of a comprehensive biological survey of the bioregion to assist in the development of a NRM plan for the Rangelands and assessment of possible environmental impacts of potential development in the region.

$70,000 for implementation of the Lower Gascoyne River Action Plan. The river action plan was developed through the Lower Gascoyne Management Strategy, which involves protection and restoration of the Lower Gascoyne and river mouth, reversing the decline of native vegetation, controlling weeds and pests, and providing community groups with understanding and skills to contribute to conservation and NRM.

$67,000 to support the Shark Bay World Heritage Property Community Consultative Committee and Scientific Advisory Committee.

$25,000 for operation of Shark Bay World Heritage Community Consultative Committee and Scientific Advisory Committee. This project will allow effective management of the Shark Bay World Heritage Property.

$105,150 for the World Heritage Community Education and Interpretation Program. This project raises public awareness of the high conservation values of Shark Bay, encouraging visitors to take a responsible approach to use of the area as well as improving the quality of the experience.

State-wide projects

$32,976 to determine the effects of salinity and waterlogging on rare and poorly known WA native species. This project will investigate the influence of these environmental impacts on germination and seedling growth in selected understorey species across Western Australia.

$90,000 to engage local government in natural resource management activities. This project aims to encourage the involvement of Local Government in natural resource management through a Local Government NRM Coordinator, who will provide a link between Local Government, the regional NRM groups and State Government.

$125,500 to coordination skills development and training for NHT2 State and Regional personnel. This will support NHT2 state and regional personnel in coordinating their skills development and training activities. The key audiences are the six regional NRM strategy groups, personnel from Coastcare, Rivercare, Bushcare and Landcare programs, the Association of Community Landcare Professionals and other key NRM personnel.

$19,800 to test plant species influences on phosphite effectiveness for the control of Phytophthora cinnamomi threatening rare flora. By testing plant species over a range of families, the project will identify species that are affected by the devastating Phytophthora cinnamomi and develop a useful database of species.

$115,000 for implementation of the Marine Community Monitoring Program in Western Australia. The Marine Community Monitoring Program has developed a framework and series of tools to facilitate local communities to manage their local marine and coastal environments through monitoring. A project coordinator will be appointed to drive the development of the program and provide support to participants.

$87,700 for implementation of recovery actions for WA’s most threatened flora and ecological communities that occur across more than one agricultural region. The project aims to improve the conservation of threatened flora and ecological communities through surveying, monitoring, fencing, habitat rehabilitation, and investigation of ecological requirements.

$64,000 for protection of native vegetation from Phytophthora dieback. This project aims to protect high value bushland sites throughout southwest WA from Phytophthora dieback. It will also improve the capacity of local government and the community through education.

$60,000 to provide legal advice and assistance on the Accredited Natural Resource Management Plan. The Environmental Defender’s Office will employ an NRM solicitor to provide legal advice on NRM plans and provide assistance in the development of NRM plans.

$73,684 for packaging localised land resource maps and land use information for farmers to improve sustainability. This will provide a package of spatial information to assist NRM professionals and farmers with selecting agricultural land uses and management practices. It will also develop a quality control process with local Landcare groups.

$41,340 for community capacity building for marine conservation. This project will involve the development of a capacity building program for the regional NRM groups and a strategic statewide marine awareness program.

Commonwealth of Australia