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Farmers reap rewards for protecting environment.



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The Hon. Tony Burke MP

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Farmers Reap Rewards for Protecting Environment

30 August 2008 DAFF 08/111BJ

Joint Media Release The Hon. Tony Burke MP - Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, The Hon. Peter Garrett MP - Australian Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Dr Mike Kelly MP - Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Member for Eden-Monaro

Farmers and other land managers will receive up to 15 years’ financial support to protect nationally significant environmental assets, under a new $37.5 million program launched by the Rudd Government today.

The Environmental Stewardship Program is part of the Government’s new $2.25 billion Caring for our Country initiative.

Farmers in the Lachlan Murrumbidgee region of NSW will be invited to participate in the first initiative funded under the program - to protect part of the Box Gum Grassy Woodland.

The woodland covers around 405,000 hectares of mainly wheat and sheep-producing country from southern Queensland into central Victoria, including the Lachlan Murrumbidgee region.

Member for Eden Monaro and Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Dr Mike Kelly launched the Environmental Stewardship Program at a property in Bungendore, in the Lachlan region.

The Government will support land managers who provide quality long-term environmental outcomes, through a market-based approach including going to tender or auction.

Private land managers will be able to set a price for the services they agree to deliver,including the cost of any production income they forego as a result of the conservation work.

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts Peter Garrett said: “The Box Gum Grassy Woodland is an important first project - only five per cent of the critically endangered ecological community remains in good condition,” Mr Garrett said.

“It is home to a variety of endangered and threatened species including Superb Parrots, Regent Honeyeaters and Squirrel Gliders.”

Mr Burke said more than three-quarters of Australia’s land area is managed by farmers,graziers, Indigenous communities and other private land managers.

“Many of these land managers are already leading the way in innovative sustainability practices,” Mr Burke said.

“This ground-breaking program is about supporting these land managers in their vital work which benefits everyone.

“Farmers already have the most to lose from climate change so the Rudd Government is acting now to help them prepare for the challenges of the future.”

Officially launching the program in Bungendore today, Dr Mike Kelly encouraged land managers in the Lachlan and Murrumbidgee Catchments with Box Gum Grassy Woodland on their property to

participate in this program.

For more information about the Environmental Stewardship Program go to http://www.nrm.gov.au/stewardship/index.html