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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
The Hon Peter McGauran MP
Australian Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation
Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald

19 October 2005

Almost $10 million for Grand Scale National Environment Initiatives

Sixteen innovative environmental projects will receive almost $10 million in Australian Government funding over the next three years, leading to significant improvements in the sustainable management of our land, water and wildlife.

Funded under the Natural Heritage Trustís National Competitive Component, the projects worth $9,973,450, were announced today by Australian Government Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell; Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran; and Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald.

"These projects are carefully targeted investments that will have a broad impact on the health of our environment," Senator Campbell said.

Australiaís understanding of freshwater fish across northern Australia will be improved through a $898,000 project that will produce a one-stop-shop for information relating to freshwater fish in the region as well as improve the management of aquatic habitat and biodiversity issues.

"The rivers of northern Australia are a rich source of undiscovered biological information, and entire catchments have never been adequately surveyed for their marine life and habitats. For example, useful information exists for only five of the 21 major river systems in the southern half of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The information collected will be valuable for decades to come," Senator Campbell said.

ďA further $794,430 will help deliver a long-term management strategy to manage the estimated 300,000 feral camels in the desert areas of Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia.

"Camels can have serious environmental, economic and cultural impacts on desert Australia, and the population is growing at a rate of around 10 per cent each year. This project will provide a comprehensive long-term strategy to control these feral animals and protect biodiversity as well as improve natural resources and landholder capacity," he said.

Mr McGauran said a project being undertaken by the Australian National Universityís Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies will help cutting-edge science to be converted into practical on-ground improvements on farms, particularly in the areas of restoration programs, vegetation management practices and farm management regimes.

"Around $1.5 million has been allocated to ensure important new research findings are widely communicated to a broad audience, including landholders, non-government organisations, regional bodies and policy makers," Mr McGauran said.

"It is an important project that will redress some of the existing knowledge gaps and strengthen active researcher/landholder partnerships.

"Conservation Farmers Inc will reduce herbicide-contaminated run-off from cropping farms into waterways, after being awarded $511,000 for a project funded under the National Competitive Component.

"The project will develop better methods that are profitable for grain farmers and have a positive impact on water quality and biodiversity in riverine areas. A key output will be the production of an education package for future undergraduate training in environmental farm management practices," Mr McGauran said.

Senator Macdonald highlighted a $1.35 million wetland management project that brings together four organisations - The Wetlands Centre, WWF Australia, Wetlands International - Oceania and Wetland Care Australia - to build the knowledge and expertise of those involved in wetland conservation and management.

"By developing resources, training and best-practice management techniques, this project will increase community involvement in wetland conservation, and enhance the local skills being applied to wetland and shorebird management," Senator Macdonald said.

"Ultimately, it will lead to improvements in the health of our precious wetland resources and their biodiversity and contribute to Australia meeting commitments under international wetlands agreements."

Senator Macdonald said the Cooperative Research Centre for Australian Weed Management received $435,084 for a project that will help the next generation of land managers work with community groups to defeat weedy invaders.

"Weeds cost the economy about $4 billion annually and are a major threat to native plants and animals. This project is part of a coordinated effort on weed management and the CRC project complements the Australian Governmentís new $40 million Defeating the Weeds Menace initiative," he said.

The Ministers also announced an extra $20.5 million funding under the Regional Competitive Component for 28 large-scale environmental projects that will significantly improve the sustainable management of our natural resources.

A full list of National Competitive Component projects for Round 2 is available below.

Media contacts: Renae Stoikos (Minister Campbell) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Russ Neal (Minister McGauran) 02 6277 7520 or 0413 601 303
David Crisafulli (Minister Macdonald) 02 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433

Natural Heritage Trust
National Competitive Component Projects - Round 2

Project Description and outcomes Contact Funding 2005-06 to 2007-08
Project: helping farmers integrate native vegetation management practices into farm management regimes.
Outcomes: more effective conservation of on-farm native animals, birds and plants in remnant riverina woodlands of south eastern Australia; stimulate greater community involvement in conservation actions.
Professor David Lindenmayer
Centre for Resource & Environmental Studies, ANU
T: 0427 770 593
Project: development and provision of wetland management-related training, information and education materials.


  • Building a national wetland management training program
Ms Tara Ure
The Wetlands Centre
T: 02 4951 6466
  • Increasing the capacity of regional bodies and landholders to plan and implement on-ground actions for conservation management of important wetlands and migratory shorebird sites
Mr Doug Watkins
Wetlands International – Oceania
T: 02 6274 2780
  • Developing a conservation toolkit to protect and enhance migratory shorebird habitat
Ms Philippa Walsh
T: 02 9281 5515
  • Providing regionally-specific wetland management information to landholders on the NSW coast
Mr Alan Cibilic
Wetland Care Australia
T: 02 6681 6169
Project : bring together information on freshwater fishes – both scientific and from traditional owners and knowledgeable locals – toanalyse freshwater fish faunas and their key management issues across Northern Australia.
provide a “one-stop-shop” reference point to enhance the management conservation actions relating to endangered fish faunas.
Dr Damien Burrows
National Centre for Tropical Wetland Research and Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research, James Cook University
T: 07 4781 4262
Project: involve stakeholders including pastoralists and indigenous communities in the development of a management plan for the estimated 300,000 feral camels in Australia’s inland desert regions.
Outcomes: significant reduction in camel numbers; relieve pressure on endangered biodiversity and aboriginal food sources.
Professor Murray McGregor
Desert Knowledge Co-operation Research Centre
T: 0418 462 011
Project: provide industry, land managers and the community with the knowledge and tools to manage water flows in the Lower Gwydir floodplain.
Outcome: ensure streams and wetlands have enough water to sustain the environment.
Mr Guy Roth
Cotton Catchment Communities Co-operative Research Centre
T: 0417 223 179
Project: enhance existing software tools to help regional bodies in coastal areas prioritise and plan their natural resource management initiatives.
Outcomes: allow NRM managers to examine complex planning issues involving socio-economic and conservation trade-offs; help set on-ground priorities for habitat retention, revegetation and coastal and marine protection.
Professor Hugh Possingham
The University of Queensland
T: 07 3365 2527
Project: develop a system of measurement that will help private conservation landholders assess the return on their investment of funds and effort.
Outcome: increase conservation outcomes at the property level.
Mr Stuart Cowell
Australian Bush Heritage Fund
T: 0427 163 080
Project: develop communication, technical and support resources to assist farmers implement environmental best management practices for improving water quality and maintaining sustainability.
Outcome: measurable change of farming practices to reduce contaminated run-off affecting aquatic ecosystems, rivers and streams.
Mr Michael Burgis
Conservation Farmers Inc
T: 07 4638 5656
Project: improve communication and management of acid sulfate soils, and increase awareness of their potential social, environment and economic impact. This includes completion of an Atlas, running technical workshops and production of education materials.
Outcome: minimise the significant environmental, social and economic costs to coastal communities of acid sulfate soils.
Dr Leigh Sullivan
Southern Cross University
T: 02 6620 3742
Project: develop regional profiles on the social, cultural and economic characteristics of the Lake Eyre Basin; and develop practical methods to work with the people, businesses and communities of the Basin for better natural resource management.
Outcome: building community investments in sustainable natural resource management.
Dr Mark Stafford Smith
Desert Knowledge Co-operative Research Centre
T: 08 8950 7162
Project: enhance community ownership of and participation in weed management (particularly among school children) through the Weed Warriors national engagement and empowerment program.
Outcome: build an inter-generational understanding of and commitment to conserving native biodiversity by reducing the weed menace.
Mr Peter Martin
CRC for Australian Weed Management
T: 08 8303 6693
Project: establish a long-term, targeted community-based bird monitoring program using volunteers in 10 natural resource management regions; produce a guide that will encourage other regions to introduce their own bird monitoring networks.
Outcome: better quality and more comprehensive data on bird numbers and distribution.
Dr Michael Weston
Birds Australia
T: 03 9882 2622
Project: improve volunteer risk management practices within the natural resource management community volunteer sector by providing training to up to 1000 community groups across Australia.
Outcome: implementation of effective safety regimes for volunteer workers.
Ms Karen Dimmock
Conservation Volunteers Australia
T: 0404 828 908
Project: assist landholders in eight regions around Australia to manage the relationship between agricultural production and biodiversity conservation in a mixed farming zone.
Outcome: improve natural diversity in Australian agricultural landscapes.
Dr Richard Price
Grain and Graze
T: 02 6295 6300
Project: build the capacity of land managers to identify pest animal problems and to develop and implement effective management plans.
Outcome: better management of pests.
Dr Tony Peacock
Australasian Invasive Animals CRC
T: 02 6242 1768
Project: develop tools for calculation of baseflow contributions to surface water resources; monitor and report on trends in baseflow.
Outcome: better managed and healthier catchments, rivers and fresh water aquatic habitats.
Dr Rory Nathan
Sinclair Knight Merz
T: 03 9248 3322
TOTAL $9,973,450
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