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Natural Heritage Trust

Media Release
Joint Statement by Minister for the Environment, Robert Hill, and
Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, John Anderson

$22 MILLION TO QUEENSLAND AS FIRST TRUST INSTALMENT


5 November 1997

Communities from Cairns to Cunnamulla are sharing in more than $22.6 million in the first major round of funding for Queensland from the Natural Heritage Trust.

Federal Primary Industries and Energy Minister John Anderson and Environment Minister Robert Hill today announced 375 projects for one of the largest ever single investments in Queensland's environment.

At the same time, an historic agreement jointly committing the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments to the Trust has been signed in Roma.

Speaking in Roma today, Mr Anderson said the successful projects have a strong focus on rural and regional Queensland where on-the-ground action is most needed.

"The strong community response in Queensland is a massive endorsement of the Natural Heritage Trust which builds on the enthusiasm and commitment of Australians to work for a better environment," Minister Anderson said.

Senator Hill said the people of Queensland have swung behind the $1.25 billion Natural Heritage Trust with community based projects dominating the first round of funding.

The successful projects range from a $18 400 nature refuges project by the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers to a $75 000 revegetation project by the Kuranda Landcare Group and Kuranda Environment Association to improve cassowary habitat.

"Practical action such as protective fencing of remnant rainforest, replanting bush tucker and bush medicine species around Mick Creek in the state's north and restoring riparian habitats in the Lower Fitzroy River can now begin" said Senator Hill.

"The projects put forward by the Queensland Government have a strong focus on issues such as linking rainforest and reef, controlling weeds of national significance, bore rehabilitation in the Great Artesian Basin, riparian zone repair for rivers including the Burdekin, and support for enhanced Property Management Planning", he said.

The successful projects include more than $200 000 for the North Queensland River Trust Association for a project linking rainforests to reef, $31 000 for the Noosa and District Landcare Group for a regional information centre, and $80 000 for the Dalby Wambo Landcare Group to assist in controlling land degradation.

"This is the first instalment of around $30 million for Queensland this financial year from the Natural Heritage Trust and related programs," said Senator Hill.

Funding for the Murray Darling region has increased significantly to more than two million dollars this year, representing more than a three fold increase.

"These projects will enhance the quality of our valuable water resources through good environmental management practices," said Mr Anderson.

"Among the projects is a water quality and biological monitoring program by the Border Rivers Coordinating Committee, and a project which aims to reduce pesticides in river environments coordinated by the Condamine-Balonne Water Committee."

The partnership agreement has been signed by the Prime Minister John Howard, Queensland Premier Rob Borbidge, Mr Anderson, Senator Hill, and the state Ministers for Natural Resources, Howard Hobbs, and Environment, Brian Littleproud.

Mr Anderson and Senator Hill said the agreement reinforces the Natural Heritage Trust message that successful environmental repair requires a close partnership between the community and all levels of government.

Trust programs such as Landcare, the Endangered Species Program, Murray-Darling 2001, Bushcare, Rivercare and Farm Forestry are included in today's announcement. Projects for the Trust's Coasts and Clean Seas program will be announced early next year.

Matt Brown 0419 693 515
Robert Haynes 0419 493 511
Darryl Hockey 0419 244 521
Peter Cosier 0419 693 811

Commonwealth of Australia