Joint media release
Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Tony Burke
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Joe Ludwig
Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Dr Mike Kelly
Australia’s natural resources will be better protected thanks to a funding boost from the Gillard Labor Government that will enable community groups to take action to protect the Australian landscape.
The Gillard Government today announced an additional $241 million for the successful projects of the open call component of the 2010–11 Caring for our Country business plan.
Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Tony Burke, said 168 environmental and sustainable agricultural projects were successful.
“These projects will reduce the impact of invasive species, protect coastal environments, increase sustainable land management practices, and protect native habitats and World Heritage Areas,” Minister Burke said.
“The Caring for our Country program is an important initiative that supports volunteers and community groups who make such an important contribution to our natural environment.”
Rural, urban and coastal community and Landcare groups, as well as landholders will share in over $60 million to improve, protect and better manage our natural and productive landscapes.
”This includes $31.3 million for competitive projects that greatly improve the health of our coastal and aquatic ecosystems,” Minister Burke said.
“As a result of this package, $1.5 million will be used to reduce sediment entering Moreton Bay near Brisbane.”
“Water quality of the Tasmanian Derwent Estuary will also greatly improve with $1.3 million in funding.”
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, said another major element of this package would provide $181 million in base level funding for 56 regional natural resource management (NRM) organisations around Australia.
“Farmers and land managers are some of the most important contributors to the adoption of sustainable land care practices,” Minister Ludwig said.
“From these funds, $49.9 million will go to NRM groups specifically to support this work.”
“Farmers are on the front line when it comes to the future impacts of climate change, and the Government is committed to supporting them to manage our natural resources sustainably.”
As a result of the Australian Government’s commitment to regional NRM funding, Indigenous people will also be supported as environmental custodians.
“Caring for our Country funding will support Indigenous communities throughout Australia to use traditional ecological knowledge to better manage the environment,” Minister Ludwig said.
Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Dr Mike Kelly, said $8.8 million would also be spent on projects that protect environmental values of World Heritage areas in New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia.
“This includes providing $1.4 million for better management of the Greater Blue Mountains and Willandra Lakes World Heritage Areas in New South Wales,” Dr Kelly said.
“The funding will also help reduce the impacts of invasive plant and animal species on the natural environment.”
“This includes providing $700 000 to reduce the impacts of feral pigs, carp, and invasive weeds on the internationally important Macquarie Marshes.”
All funding will be subject to contract negotiations. For further information about Caring for our Country including a list of funded projects visit www.nrm.gov.au.