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National soil conservation projects approved



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MEDIA

32

RELEASE MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRIES AND ENERGY

SIMON CREAN, MP CANBERRA

DPIE91/230C 4 September 1991

NATIONAL SOIL CONSERVATION PROJECTS APPROVED

The Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, Simon Crean, today approved the first round of new projects for the 1991-92 National Soil Conservation Program (NSCP).

The 219 new projects for the states and territories are valued at $3.1 million.

"To support the growing number of community landcare groups, the NSCP's Community Landcare Support sub-program will fund 164 of the projects, valued at $1.6 million," Mr Crean said.

In total 363 project applications, valued at $8.8 million, were received in 1991-92. ’

Mr Crean said the large number of NSCP applications in 1991-92 , -showed that the widespread level of interest in land degradation control is continuing through the Decade of Landcare.

"State assessment panels involving industry, community, and state and local government representatives play an important role in ensuring the NSCP continues to help farmers and other land managers use their land sustainably," he said.

"By broadening participation in the project selection process, state assessment panels help ensure that projects finally selected for NSCP support help to meet national, state and local needs and priorities.

"The NSCP's strategy has been to target funds to the greatest problems and to catalyse activity by local landholders. Funds are also used to stimulate and complement the activities of soil conservation agencies.

"The NSCP has funded a wide variety of projects aimed at improving our understanding of emerging land degradation problems and providing landholders with the information and skills to manage their land effectively.

"It has made a significant contribution to the soil conservation effort in Australia over the last decade and I am sure it will continue to do so in the Decade of Landcare," he said.

Mr Crean said a second round of Community Landcare Group projects has been called for in 1991-92.

Calling a second round will give landcare groups the opportunity to take up the three year $0.5 million expansion of the NSCP funding base, announced in the 1991 Budget.

"This will help farmers develop strategic approaches to the management of risks such as drought," he said.

The $0.5 million available in 1991-92 will be available for local landcare group initiatives such as workshops enabling individual landcare members to acquire skills in farm management (including financial management) and land use plans and for

specialist training in skills to help run such workshops.

"This additional funding is aimed at reinforcing the message that risk management is an integral part of land management," Mr Crean said.

Information: Ray Walker, Department (06) 272 4627. Catherine Payne, Minister's Office (06) 277 7520.