8 May 2012
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator the Hon. Joe Ludwig
Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities the Hon. Tony Burke MP
The Gillard Government has today announced it will continue its commitment to Labor's flagship Caring for our Country program for another five years, providing $2.2 billion from 2013-14 to 2017-18.
"Through Caring for our Country, the Gillard Government is investing in a healthy, better protected and more resilient environment," Environment Minister, Tony Burke, said.
“The great part of Caring for our Country is that it supports volunteers, farmers and community groups to make a real difference to their local area.
Protecting and conserving our biodiversity and promoting the adoption of sustainable farm practices are priorities for the Gillard Government.
This continued funding will support a broad range of groups to undertake high quality natural resource management projects that are important to local communities and which contribute to the health of our environment into the future.
“It also complements the recently announced Biodiversity Fund that will enhance biodiversity carbon stores and secure a clean energy future for Australia,” Minister Burke said.
Agriculture Minister, Senator Joe Ludwig, said the Government’s commitment to extend Caring for our Country means that work will continue to be carried out by farming communities to manage and protect Australia’s natural resources.
“This includes funding for Landcare groups, sustainable agriculture innovation and weed and pest eradication and management, as well as the regional delivery of better practices that will protect our natural resources for food production for future generations,” Minister Ludwig said.
Today's announcement follows a review of the first phase of Caring for our Country, which found the program is on track to exceed its five-year outcomes in nearly all national priority areas.
The next five years of the program will draw on the findings of the review and the strengths and successes of the first phase, focus on activities that address emerging priorities in natural resource management and strengthen the focus on the marine environment.
“In addition to ensuring Caring for our Country funding continues, the Gillard Government has also recognised the complementary, yet separate, roles farming communities and environmentalists play in the success of the program,” Minister Burke said.
From July 2013, Caring for our Country will be delivered through two specific streams – one dedicated to sustainable environment, and the other to sustainable agriculture.
“Separate but complementary streams will allow focussed delivery of our priorities and ensure effective integration with the policies and programs in the Government’s broader sustainability agenda,” Minister Burke said.
Minister Ludwig said the change was a win for farmers and for the sustainability of farming land into the future.
“Separate streams will allow for greater emphasis on the role farming communities play in keeping our land productive, and the projects that are needed to support their efforts,” Minister Ludwig said.
“A stream dedicated to agriculture means our farmers and farming communities will directly benefit.”
Information on the broad framework for the next five years of Caring for our Country and areas for further consultation will shortly be available on the Caring for our Country website.
A second phase of consultation regarding the future direction of the program will take place over coming months.