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Monday, 22 June 2009
Page: 3970


Senator Cormann asked the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, upon notice, on 19 May 2009:

(1)   What was/is the budget for the Caring for our Country program for each of the following financial years: (a) 2005-06; (b) 2006-07; (c) 2007-08; and (d) 2008-09.

(2)   For each of the abovementioned financial years, how much was expended on Caring for our Country projects in Western Australia.

(3)   Does the Caring for our Country funding take into account the area of land controlled by particular natural resource management groups.

(4)   Do particular areas (e.g. the Murray-Darling Basin) receive priority funding under the Caring for our Country program; if so, how are particular areas assessed for priority funding.

(5)   Has the Swan River catchment ever been assessed for priority funding; if not, why not.


Senator Sherry (Assistant Treasurer) —The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   No funds were expended under the Caring for our Country initiative for the financial years 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 as this natural resource management initiative commenced on 1 July 2008. The Caring for our Country budget for 2008-09 is $428.2 million.

(2)   No funds were expended on Caring for our Country projects during the financial years 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08. During 2008-09, over $38.5 million has been allocated for Caring for our Country projects in Western Australia.

Caring for our Country element

Approved for 2008-09

Regional NRM organisations (base-level funding)

$29,420,000

Landcare Sustainable Practices

$2,217,342

Open Grants (inc landcare)

$1,127,230

Community Coastcare

$2,397,340

Indigenous Emissions Trading Program

$183,750

Working on Country for Indigenous Rangers

$1,595,095

Indigenous Protected Areas

$1,140,980

Ningaloo World Heritage nomination

$311,911

Kimberley National Heritage assessment

$196,280

TOTAL

$38,589,928

(3)   No. Regional allocations were determined using the following principles:

(a)   regions need a minimum funding level to function effectively

(b)   regional funding is to be invested to achieve Caring for our Country priorities

(c)   allocations to regions will be based on their capacity to achieve priorities.

(4)   No particular areas receive priority funding under the Caring for our Country program. Funding is allocated to achieve specific outcomes and targets within six national priority areas: - the National Reserve system; - biodiversity and natural icons; - coastal environments and critical aquatic habitats; - sustainable farm practices; - natural resource management in northern and remote Australia; and - community skills, knowledge and engagement.

(5)   The Swan River catchment has been identified as having a number of Caring for our Country targets including: invasive species, Ramsar wetlands, improving land management practices, improving knowledge and skills of land managers. Funding has been allocated to the Swan Regional NRM organisation to address those targets.