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$250 million more for the natural heritage trust.

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Senator the Hon. Robert Hill

Minister for the Environment and Heritage


Federal Budget 1999-2000




A major highlight of this year’s Federal Budget is the extension of the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) - th e single largest investment by a Federal Government in the environmental future of Australia.


The extension reaffirms the Government’s pre-election commitment to the NHT in directly helping communities deal with their environmental problems.


$320.9 million will be spent on NHT programmes in 1999-2000. As promised in the run up to the Federal election, an additional $250 million will be allocated from the sale of the second (16 per cent) tranche of Telstra.


This will extend the NHT for a further year (to end of June 2002), ensuring its programs continue to stimulate activities in the national interest to achieve the conservation, sustainable use and repair of Australia’s unique and diverse natural environment.


The NHT has funded a wide range of initiatives designed to remedy Australia’s environmental problems. Some of the best known programmes include Landcare, Bushcare, Rivercare, the National Reserve System, the Endangered Species programme, the World Heritage programme, the Murray-Darling Basin 2001 project, the Coasts and Clean Seas programme, the Wetlands programme and the Noxious Weed and National Feral Animal control strategies.


Other programmes which will now be extended include;


·  the Air Pollution in Major Cities programme, which is improving air quality in urban areas;

·  the Waste Awareness programme, which is educating the community about waste management;

·  the National Land and Water Audit which will, for the first time, provide reliable information on the status of our natural resource base; and

·  the Farm Forestry programme, which supports the development of commercial plantations and farm forestry.


Environment and Heritage Minister Senator Robert Hill said in its short life, the NHT has made significant progress in turning around some of t he nation’s most pressing environmental problems.


“Community groups have been able to access more funding than ever before to help them repair their local environments and this latest budget commitment ensures we can continue to build on that success over coming years,” Senator Hill said.


Media contact: Rod Bruem 02 62777640 0411 128 582