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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

The Hon Tony Burke MP
Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Rudd Government helping to tackle cane toads in WA

Joint media release
20 November 2008

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A project to tackle cane toads in Western Australia is among the initiatives to share in more than $28.5 million from the Rudd Government to protect Australia’s environment and promote sustainable farming. 

Details of the projects to receive funding under the Caring for our Country Open Grants funding round were announced today by Environment Minister Peter Garrett and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke.

This includes 13 projects based solely in Western Australia and the cane toad project which will include work in both Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The Open Grants funding is part of the $2.25 billion earmarked for the first five years of Caring for our Country, launched in July this year.

Mr Garrett said the projects, ranging from $80,000 to $400,000, would lead to significant environmental benefits and advances in land management practices in all states and territories.

“Through Caring for our Country, the Government is taking a comprehensive, targeted and integrated approach to natural resource management funding, encouraging organisations to work together to deliver on national priorities,” Mr Garrett said.

“Many of the organisations funded through this Open Grants scheme look beyond their local environmental issues to link up with others to deliver better environment and land management practices on a larger scale.

“The Great Toad Muster and National Cane Toad Eradication Week is a great example of a project working across many states that brings together a range of community groups, Indigenous partners, and universities.  Together they will manually remove cane toads and erect a wildlife friendly exclusion fence - this project contributes to meeting the Government’s election commitment to slow the migration of cane toads by the Stop the Toad Foundation,” Mr Garrett said.

Of the 137 Open Grants projects funded across Australia, 72 projects worth approximately $14.4 million specifically address sustainable farm practices and Landcare.

Mr Burke said Australia’s farmers should be recognised for their extensive work in sustainable land management and Caring for our Country would help them to continue.

“Farmers also often work very closely with other local groups to deliver environmental improvements that benefit everyone,” Mr Burke said.

“For example, one of these new projects will see the Kimberley Land Council join with landholders, research groups and others on a coordinated, regional approach to fire management.

“The project will use satellite imagery to map fire scars and analyse the impact of fires on vegetation and biodiversity – benefiting the environment and agricultural production.

“The project covers around 1.8 million hectares and is predominantly based on Indigenous pastoral lands in the East Kimberley.”

Mr Garrett said the project would also allow a study of the impacts of fire on the habitats and food resources of one of Australia’s most beautiful birds – the threatened Gouldian Finch.

“It seems Gouldian Finch numbers are declining rapidly because of dwindling food sources,” Mr Garrett said.

“The wet-season grasses that the finch feeds on have been depleted through inappropriate fire regimes and the introduction of grazing stock combined with feral animals has further reduced available food sources for the finch.

“An important goal of this project is to reinstate a more benign fire regime such as those practiced before white settlement.

“Fire was used regularly to manage country in a mosaic or patch pattern of smaller burns and single fires were much less likely to burn out hundreds of kilometres of grassland as they do today,” Mr Garrett said.

Further information and a full listing of successful grants is available at www.nrm.gov.au 

EXAMPLES OF PROJECTS FUNDED

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Landcare
Project Title Group Funding

A Broadacre Approach to Certification of Sustainable Farm Practice

Curtin University of Technology

$219,000

Adopting Innovative Practices to Improve the Resilience of Farming Systems in the Northern and Eastern Wheatbelt of Western Australia

Wheatbelt East Regional Organisation of Councils (Weroc)

$273,182

Sustainable Production and Landscape Repair in Salinity-Affected, Water Supply Catchments

Treenomics

$149,718

Good Practice and Better Environmental Outcomes in Vegetable Production

WA Vegetable Growers Association Inc

$147,273

Other
Project Title Group Funding

Enabling Martu to Preserve Biodiversity in the Western Desert

Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation

$355,636

Increased Adoption of Sustainable Brushwood Production.

Moore Catchment Council Inc

$224,091

Best-Practice Mesquite Management in the Rangelands of Western Australia

Pilbara Mesquite Management Committee Inc.

$302,765

Taking 'Active Awareness' to the Regions

Blackwood Basin Group Inc.

$192,136

Protecting Critical Habitat for the Endangered Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo

Birds Australia Western Australia Inc.

$161,935

Rangelands Restoration - Restoring Native Mammal Diversity and Vegetation Condition in the Arid Zone Rangelands.

Department of Environment and Conservation

$220,909

Gouldian Finch Conservation through Indigenous Fire Management in East Kimberley

Kimberley Land Council Aboriginal Corporation

$99,000

Integrated Weed Management of Riparian Areas of the Kimberley

Ord Land and Water Incorporated

$147,273

A Strategic Regional Conservation Plan for Australia’s Global Biodiversity Hotspot

World Wide Fund for Nature Australia

$333,755

Commonwealth of Australia