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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
&
Australian Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation
Senator the Hon. Ian Macdonald

9 December 2005

Envirofund to help ACT landholders recover from drought


Rural landholders in the Australian Capital Territory will benefit from an Australian Government Envirofund programme aimed at helping them prepare for and recover from drought.

A grant of $6,800 has been approved for the Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment Coordinating Committee to produce Facts Sheets on managing for drought recovery.

Details of successful applications for the 2005 Drought Recovery Envirofund were announced today by the Australian Government Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald.

"The ACT may now be green after the rain, but the corrosive effect of the drought remains," Senator Campbell said.

"Assistance for this far-sighted project will help rural landholders in the region recover from the drought and manage their land to reduce the impacts of future dry spells.

"The facts sheets, which will be designed to increase understanding of the impacts of drought and provide practical advice on management techniques, will be targeted to the ACT and the fringe urban areas of the upper Murrumbidgee catchment."

Senator Macdonald said that there had been an unprecedented demand for grants from across the country. "In response, we doubled the funding originally set aside, from $10 million to $20 million," he said. "This means that we have been able to approve 1,145 applications nationally."

Senator Macdonald said a second project funded in the ACT would enable five dams to be desilted to improve water storage on a rural property near Tharwa.

Envirofund is the community-focused component of the Australian Government’s $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust. The next standard Envirofund round will open in February 2006.

Further details of the two ACT projects are attached.

For details of all projects go to http://www.nht.gov.au/envirofund/

Media contacts:
Renae Stoikos (Minister Campbell) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
David Crisafulli (Minister Macdonald) 07 4771 3066 or 0400 144 483


Round 7 Australian Government Envirofund

Australian Capital Territory project examples

Managing for Drought Recovery: Fact Sheets for Rural Landowners $6,800

This project will develop fact sheets about drought preparedness and recovery on the land for the large and diverse population of rural landowners in the ACT and peri urban areas of the upper Murrumbidgee catchment. These will be designed to enhance the land managers' understanding of the impacts of drought on the natural resource base and provide practical advice about management techniques that can be implemented to minimise the environmental damage and facilitate recovery, including water storage, fire management, crash grazing, use of sacrificial paddocks, weed management and protecting paddock trees. Experienced rural landowners and local land and resource management experts will contribute regionally specific content and a community workshop will test its suitability and practicality for landowners.

Desilting Five Dams on Castle Hill Farm, Tharwa $15,327

This project will help in drought recovery by de-silting five older but key dams on Castle Hill farm, all of which were dry by the beginning of 2003. To protect environmental damage in future three of these dams and a connecting waterway to one will be fenced off from livestock, with water access transferred to nearby troughs. One of these dams has been a permanent frog monitoring site for some years, and fencing will also provide protection of the remnant red gum and yellow box woodland adjacent to all three dams

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