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Truss extends helping hands to landcare.



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DAFF04/083WT - 4 April 2004

Truss extends helping hands to landcare

The Howard/Anderson Government will continue its long-standing commitment to Australia's 4,500 community landcare groups after accepting the findings of a comprehensive review of the National Landcare Program (NLP), Australian Agriculture Minister Warren Truss announced today.

Speaking at The Nationals' Queensland Central Council meeting in Rockhampton, Mr Truss said the review confirmed the program's effectiveness and strong community support.

"I am pleased to announce that the Coalition Government accepts the thrust of the review, and the landcare program will continue to hold our greatest natural asset - our land - in safe hands.

"In last year's Australian Government Budget, I announced a three-year $122 million funding package for the program, with funding in years two and three subject to the outcomes of the review," Mr Truss said. "Details of the 2004-05 landcare program will be announced in the coming Budget on 11 May.

"The review found that the program is making a significant contribution to natural resource management (NRM) in this country.

"It also found that landcare continues to be an effective way of encouraging voluntary participation and investment in NRM by Australia's farmers and wider community.

"For example, for every dollar provided by the Australian Government for landcare activities, other sources contribute around $2.60.

"Forty per cent of farmers managing 60 per cent of land and 70 per cent of Australia's diverted water are involved in landcare and ,beyond their direct support, they have been encouraged to invest - in the order of $220 million a year - in better and more sustainable practices.

"All Australians benefit from the better quality food and cleaner water resulting from improved farm management. Another landcare success highlighted in the review has been the strong involvement of people from towns and cities, and from corporate Australia. "

"The thousands of Australians involved in Landcare, and the 4,500 landcare groups they belong to, can now move forward with renewed vigour and forge new partnerships under the Government's broader, regional approach to NRM."

Mr Truss said that, although the review found the program is an efficient and low-cost operation - particularly when compared with similar programs -there is room for improvement in the areas of data management, monitoring and reporting.

The review involved extensive public consultation, including 46

stakeholder meetings, 36 public meetings across rural and regional Australia, 503 survey responses and 204 public submissions.

The review report is available online at: www.daff.gov.au/landcarereview

Further media inquiries:

Minister Truss' office: Tim Langmead - 02 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433