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Local government an important partner in delivering benefits from environment statement



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by the M inister for Primary Industries and Energy, Sim on _ .r;> vtDrean and the M inister for Local Government, David Simmons:

i JOINT STATEMENT

DPIE92/104J 21 December 1992

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AN IMPORTANT PARTNER IN DELIVERING BENEFITS FROM ENVIRONMENT STATEMENT

Local Government will play an im portant role in delivering the benefits from the Environment Statement, the Minister for Prim ary Industries and Energy, Simon Crean, and the Minister for Local Government, David Simmons, said today.

Im proved w ater quality is a m ajor focus of the Prime Minister's statem ent, and sewage treatm ent plants, particularly in the Murray-Darling Basin, will be receiving special attention over the next four years to help clean up degraded rivers and catchments.

"Additional funds of $46 million over four years will allow an im m ediate assessment and early implementation, in consultation with State and local governments, of the most effective and efficient m ethods of addressing 'significant sources of nutrients to waterways," Mr Crean said.

"The funds will be distributed through the new partnership arrangem ents between the three spheres of government being developed under the National Landcare Program."

"We will be looking to work with local governments to help im prove the m anagement of our valuable soil and water resources, and reduce the impact that our towns and cities have on their environment," said the Ministers.

"Local government, through its responsibility for land use planning and development, water supply, sewage and waste m anagem ent, has a significant role to play in ensuring that a com prehensive approach is taken to improving water quality. Council zoning and planning powers will also help complement m ore direct measures, such as upgrading of sewage treatm ent works," said Mr Simmons.

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Priority areas in the Murray-Darling Basin, for example, would include the ten towns and cities - Toowoomba, Orange, Bathurst, Tamworth, Dubbo, Gunnedah, Moree, Inverell, Narrabri and Dalby - recently identified as responsible for 90 per cent of the

sewerage phosphate in the Darling River.

To help small rural communities, the Country Towns W ater Supply Im provement Program will be extended to include waste water treatm ent.

"This will build on the success of this program in delivering better quality water to small rural communities. Since the program started in 1985, over $30 million has already been allocated to 150 communities, helping to provide over 110,000 people with better quality water," said Mr Crean.

In urban areas, the approach and experience gained with the Commonwealth/State/local governm ent/com m unity partnership in the Western Sydney Drainage Initiative will be used to address broader catchment m anagem ent and water quality issues

elsewhere.

"Sewage treatm ent and disposal projects will also provide opportunities for local employment and to dem onstrate effective and innovative Australian technology including filtration systems, the use of artificial wetlands and plantations irrigated with effluent.

"These initiatives represent the Government's approach to Ecologically Sustainable Development. It is ESD in practice - being sm arter, using our resources more efficiently, and protecting and enhancing both our productive base and environm ental values, in partnership with local and State governments," Mr Crean said.

Information: Catherine Payne, Mr Crean's Office (06) 27-7 7520.

David Chalker, Mr Simmons' Office (06) 277 7240