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$176,667 for Western Australian drought recovery measures.



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AFFA03/046MJ - 28 March 2003

Federal Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation - Senator Ian Macdonald Federal Minister for theEnvironment and Heritage - Dr David Kemp

$176,667 for Western Australian drought recovery measures

Major environmental work targeting drought-affected areas in Western Australia will soon take place thanks to $176,667 from the Howard Government's $10 million Envirofund Drought Recovery Round.

The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and the Federal Minister for Fisheries Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald, today announced the first $3.3 million in priority funding from the Drought Recovery Round which includes $176,667 for 13 projects in Western Australia.

"This special round of funding involves grants of up to $30,000 for community groups to carry out on-ground environmental work in drought-affected areas, some of which is already underway as well as new projects that are about to start," Dr Kemp said.

Funded projects to take place in Western Australia include:

● $27,273 to restore and conserve important habitats of the Wooleen Lake Wetland at Murchison

and address Aboriginal heritage values; ● $10,920 for 7.8 kilometres of fencing around a waterway in the Lake Campion Nature Reserve

to protect it from stock grazing; ● $4,400 to fence 54 hectares of woodland in the Upper Bonnie Rock catchment near Mukinbudin

to keep out stock and conserve the area's biodiversity, especially a population of Mallee trees and Malleefowl; and ● $3,680 to fence off remnant vegetation from stock and link it to vegetation corridors near

Newdegate. This includes 6.7 hectares of salmon gum woodland along with an adjoining mallee corridor. The fencing will allow the vegetation to regenerate by protecting understorey shrubs and emerging seedlings.

"These projects will not only help protect precious natural resources at a local level, they will help protect the long-term productivity of rural land. This is important for Western Australia which has a large agricultural sector," Dr Kemp said.

"It is only through community-driven projects that we can effectively manage the effects that this drought is having on our environment. This is why funding is channelled directly to community groups, because they have the local knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm to deliver on-ground results."

The $10 million Drought Recovery Round is part of the popular Envirofund program, which is a community-focused component of the Howard Government's $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust. The Drought Recovery Round is also just one element of the $900 million package of measures introduced by the Government to help drought-affected Australian communities.

"While recent rain in many areas is welcome, the problems are far from over and we need to work together to tackle them," Senator Macdonald said.

"By funding small local projects through the Envirofund, it allows everyone to pitch in and make a real difference in protecting and improving their local environment."

The remaining $6.7 million of funding from this special Drought Recovery Round will be announced soon.

For further information about projects funded in Western Australia, visit the Natural Heritage Trust web site at: http://www.nht.gov.au/projects.

A full list of successful projects in each State that is receiving funding through the special Drought Recovery Round of the Australian Government Envirofund is available on the Natural Heritage Trust web site at http://www.nht.gov.au/projects

Further media inquiries:

Senator Macdonald's office: Philip Connole (02) 6277 7270 or 0417 063 605 Dr Kemp's office: Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400