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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Warren Truss MP
Western Australian Minister for the Environment and Science
Dr Judy Edwards MP
Western Australian Minister for Agriculture and Forestry
Kim Chance MP

10 June 2005

Strategy to safeguard the Swan Region

Western Australia's iconic Swan River, resource-rich land and native plants and animals will be better protected following the accreditation of the State's first Natural Resource Management (NRM) Strategy.

The landmark accreditation for the Swan region was today announced by Australian Government Ministers for the Environment, Senator Ian Campbell, and Agriculture, Warren Truss, along with Western Australian Government Ministers for Agriculture, Kim Chance and Environment, Dr Judy Edwards.

The strategy paves the way for government funding to help communities manage and protect the region's natural assets.

Making the announcement in Perth today, Senator Campbell said the strategy marked a fresh approach for tackling water quality, biodiversity and land use issues in the Swan.

"This region is renowned for its diverse natural resources. Features such as Rottnest and Garden Islands, a stunning coastline and the Swan and Canning Rivers make the area truly unique," he said.

"Under pressure as a result of years of urban expansion, the Swan River in particular needs our help. So the region's NRM Strategy provides a blueprint to keep the 'heart of Perth' healthy so our grandchildren can enjoy it too."

Mr Truss said the strategy showed how important natural resources were to the region's prosperity and that those assets would play a role in its continued success.

"The Swan is one of the richest areas in Western Australia in terms of land, mineral and water resources. The region supports horticulture, agriculture, mining, forestry and tourism. Agriculture creates ongoing wealth in a range of sectors to the value of about $692 million.

"The NRM strategy identifies partnerships between communities, industries and governments to keep these businesses strong. For example, sustainable forestry practices will help to restore degraded land, water and native vegetation on private land will be carefully managed," Mr Truss said.

Dr Edwards said caring for the region's rivers and wetlands was vital to delivering a high quality of water to the Swan-Canning estuary and conserving its biodiversity.

"The strategy includes a focus on in-stream habitats and freshwater wetlands to help us help the Swan-Canning system," she said.

"Proposed activities include monitoring to maintain water resources, providing habitat corridors and breeding grounds within water areas, and improving flows to stop damage to river and wetland ecosystems."

Mr Chance said the region consulted extensively with the community during the strategy's development.

"The Swan covers nearly 700,000 hectares and has 1.4 million people, so getting input from a variety of groups was a major undertaking," he said.

"As a result the strategy is not only a long term vision for natural resource management but also for indigenous and other cultural heritage sites, and a healthy society."

The Australian and State governments will make joint funding contributions for a range of significant projects. Details of this funding will be announced in coming weeks.

For information on the Swan's NRM Strategy contact Sue Metcalf, Chair of the Swan Catchment Council on (08) 9374 3333

Media Contact:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Tim Langmead (Minister Truss) (02) 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433
Nigel Higgs (Dr Edwards' office) (08) 9220 5056 or 0408 051 772
Alicia Miriklis (Mr Chance's office) (08) 9213 6700 or 0428 911 240

Commonwealth of Australia