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Joint Media Release
Commonwealth Minister for Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
&
Commonwealth Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Warren Truss
&
South Australian Minister for Environment and Conservation
John Hill

28 August 2003

South Australia Reaches Natural Resources Milestone


South Australia's first accredited natural resource management regional plan is a critical step towards further investment by the Commonwealth and State Governments in the region's environment and sustainable agriculture.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, and South Australian Minister for Environment and Conservation, John Hill, today announced the accreditation of the Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan for the Mt Lofty Ranges and Greater Adelaide Region.

Regional plans in each of Australia's 62 natural resource management regions are a detailed assessment of each region's biophysical assets, the threats they face and the actions needed to protect them.

Investment strategies developed using the plans form the basis of the biggest commitment to biodiversity and sustainable agriculture ever implemented by the Commonwealth and State Governments - the $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust and $1.4 billion National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality.

Mr Truss said regional natural resource management plans were developed to protect a region's natural resources and sustain its agriculture industries and communities.

"The Mt Lofty Ranges and Greater Adelaide Region provides, on average, 60% of Adelaide's annual water needs and includes some of the State's most fertile and productive soils," Mr Truss said.

"It supports primary industries that are estimated to contribute around $720 million a year to the South Australian economy.

"At the same time, salinity is an issue in the Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges. Priorities include the protection of water resources, freshwater and marine, the provision of adequate supplies of water for human use and ecosystems, as well as addressing issues that affect biodiversity and primary production."

Mr Hill said the region was one of South Australia's most biologically rich areas.

"It has around 50% of the State's native plant species and 76% of native bird species," Mr Hill said.

"In addition, its marine environment has some of Australia's most diverse flora and fauna.

"Actions identified in the plan focus strongly on vegetation and on ensuring the region's soil and water resources are used in a sustainable way."

Dr Kemp said the plan's accreditation was a milestone for South Australia and would guide Government investments in projects that addressed the region's strategic natural resource management priorities.

"This plan is among the first accredited nationally and follows extensive consultation with the region's representative groups and the wider community," Dr Kemp said.

"The plan has resulted from considerable effort by the 14 members of the Mt Lofty Ranges and Greater Adelaide regional group to ensure all the key stakeholders and the wider community have been consulted effectively in preparing the plan.

"They are commended for their ground-breaking work in preparing a blueprint that will ensure the region's natural resource assets are protected."

SA's other seven NRM regions all have natural resource management plans either in development or under assessment.

Copies of the Plan are available from the Interim Mt Lofty Ranges Integrated Natural Resource Management Group, Upper Level, Corner Mann & Walker Streets, Mount Barker SA 5251, or can be downloaded from www.mlrcp.sa.gov.au.

Commonwealth of Australia