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8 August 1997
SA Gets Green Light for Natural Heritage Trust Funds Efforts to protect and restore South Australia's environment will receive a massive injection of funding following the signing of an agreement between the State and Federal Governments.
The signing of the partnership agreement is the green light for funding to flow to South Australia from the Howard Government's $1.25 billion Natural Heritage Trust.
Acting Prime Minister Tim Fischer and South Australian Premier John Olsen have signed the Commonwealth-State Agreement today in Adelaide.
Mr Fischer says the agreement provides for Commonwealth funding of on-ground action aimed at improving South Australia's environment.
"The signing of this agreement means that South Australia will be one of the first States to receive funding from the Natural Heritage Trust.
"The Olsen Government has already put forward proposals for major regional initiatives such as the Murray Darling Basin.
"There can be no argument that restoring the health of the great Murray Darling river system is one of the major environmental challenges facing this nation.
"South Australia has a vital interest in this challenge and funding from the Trust will help the State to play an effective role in providing a solution."
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill and Primary Industries Minister John Anderson have welcomed the announcement by Premier Olsen of additional State funding for environment projects.
Senator Hill says the partnership between the Commonwealth and the State will ensure a balance is achieved between biodiversity conservation and sustainable agriculture.
"Trust funding for South Australia this financial year is expected to be at least $24 million - almost double the amount allocated by the Commonwealth to South Australia last year.
"Funding from the Trust will support a range of significant biodiversity conservation and natural resources management initiatives in regions such as the Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island, the South-East, Eyre Peninsula and on Aboriginal lands.
"The programs put forward by the State Government have a strong focus on issues such as native vegetation management, implementation of sustainable farming systems, and water conservation. These are all important elements of conservation through good land management practices."
Mr Anderson says the commitment of additional funds from South Australia reinforces the message that environmental repair must be a partnership between the community and all levels of government.
"The commitment of new funding of $9.6 million from the Olsen Government is a clear signal that South Australia is serious about tackling the environmental challenges it faces.
"The State's contribution to Natural Heritage Trust related projects will now be in excess of $28 million.
"It is a huge boost for conservation efforts in this State and along with the Natural Heritage Trust funds will provide a solid foundation for an expansion of those efforts in future years."
The recommendations for projects to be funded are expected to be provided to the Ministerial Board within the next few weeks following a comprehensive community-based assessment process.
The partnership agreement between the Commonwealth and South Australian governments is the second to be signed under the Natural Heritage Trust, with agreements covering the other States and Territories expected to be finalised in the near future.
Media contacts Darryl Hockey (Mr Anderson) 0419 244 521
Matt Brown (Senator Hill) 0419 693 515
Gerard Early (Environment Australia) 06 250 0222
Tony Byrne (DPIE) 06 272 4624