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Public consultation opens for next phase of Caring for our Country

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T h e H o n . T o n y B u r k e

M i n i s t e r f o r S u s t a i n a b i l i t y , E n v i r o n m e n t , W a t e r , P o p u l a t i o n a n d

C o m m u n i t i e s

S e n a t o r t h e H o n . J o e L u d w i g

M i n i s t e r f o r A g r i c u l t u r e , F i s h e r i e s a n d F o r e s t r y

21 June 2012

Public consultation opens for next phase of Caring for our Country

The Gillard Government today invited the community to help shape the next phase of Caring for our Country by participating in a new round of public consultation.

Environment Minister Tony Burke and Agriculture Minister Senator Joe Ludwig today released An Outline for the Future which sets out the broad framework for the next five years of Caring for our Country and will form the basis for community feedback over the coming eight weeks.

"Through Caring for our Country, the Gillard Government is investing in a healthy and more resilient environment by supporting volunteers, farmers and community groups to make a real difference to their local area,’’ Minister Burke said.

“An Outline for the Future document sets out the strategic objectives for the second five year phase of Caring for our Country to ensure Australia’s environmental assets are conserved, resilient and healthy, and our agricultural base is sustainable, productive and resilient.

“These objectives have been developed after extensive consultation with the community and reflect national and community priorities for natural resource management across Australia.

“I encourage all stakeholders to have their say to ensure the design of the new program is robust and reflects the knowledge and experience of the community.”

Consultation will run until 15 August and will include stakeholder forums and meetings and the release of discussion papers through a dedicated online forum.

“Over the next five years Caring for our Country will continue to invest in successful elements of the current initiative, focus on emerging priorities, and help combat new incursions of pests, weeds and disease,” Minister Ludwig said.

“The Labor Government is committed to supporting natural resource management as well as the farmers and communities who work to take care of our environment at a grass roots level.

"We know that those Australians who live and work on the land have the best understanding of how to take care of it - that’s why community engagement is such an important part of shaping the next stage of Caring for our Country and ultimately its success.”

Today’s announcement follows a commitment by the government to provide $2.2 billion for a second five-year phase of Caring for our Country, which will commence on 1 July 2013 and be delivered through sustainable environment and sustainable agriculture streams.

The sustainable environment stream will focus on protecting and managing nationally significant flora and fauna, ecological communities, ecosystems, land and seascapes. It will also focus on enhancing the capacity of Indigenous communities to conserve and protect natural resources.

The sustainable agriculture stream will focus on food security, managing natural resources sustainably and addressing the impact of weeds and pests on agricultural production.

Caring for our Country will continue to provide support for a broad range of organisations including natural resource management regional bodies, Landcare, industry, and Indigenous and community groups to manage effectively natural resources throughout Australia.

The next five years of the program will see an emphasis on the marine environment and strengthening the connection between urban communities and the environment, as well as a continued focus on the Great Barrier Reef, regional delivery, competitive grants and Working on Country. Current intergovernmental activities relating to new incursions for weeds, pests and diseases will also be brought under Caring for our Country.

The next phase will also see the program complement other major investments including the Clean Energy Future’s Land Sector Package, the Water for the Future Program and onshore biosecurity. Together these initiatives will form a comprehensive and integrated approach to natural resource management in Australia.

For information on the public consultation process or to download a copy of An Outline for the Future, visit

Media contact: Joanna Vaughan 0417354185 (Burke) or Melissa Patch 0418 734 413 (Ludwig)