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On-ground work intensifies with $13.2 million for Queensland's Murray-Darling Basin regions.



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DAFF05/032WTJ - 16 February 2005

Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Ian Campbell Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Stephen

Robertson

Queensland Minister for the Environment, Local Government, Planning and Women, Desley Boyle

On-ground work intensifies with $13.2 million for Queensland's Murray-Darling Basin regions

On-ground environmental work will intensify following the Australian and Queensland Government's injection of $13.2 million over three years into Queensland's Maranoa Balonne and Border Rivers regions.

The investment, from the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality and the Natural Heritage Trust, was announced today by Australian Government Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Ian Campbell, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, and State Ministers for Natural Resources, Stephen Robertson, and Environment, Desley Boyle.

The funding package follows the accreditation of one of Queensland's first Regional Natural Resource Management Plans, developed by the Queensland Murray-Darling Committee.

Senator Campbell said the strategy to implement the Plan acknowledged the regions' array of native plants and animals including 3,315 native plant species, 97 mammal, 340 bird, 156 reptile and 50 frog species.

"Their strategy aims to achieve an increase in nature conservation plans for rural landholders from 12 per cent in the first year to 22 per cent in the third year, and to involve 80 landholders in best management practice incentive programs covering 45,000 hectares," he said.

Mr Truss said the regions were also rich in agriculture and pastoral production, employing 30.5 per cent of the labour force and valued at $734 million each year - about 18 per cent of the annual gross regional product.

"Their strategy focuses on land and soils, aiming to encourage 200 properties a year to participate in targeted incentives programs covering 60,000 hectares, including weed control, river fencing, and sustainable

grazing," he said.

Mr Robertson said the strategy offered a long-term vision for the catchment and commended the QMDC for their work on the plan.

"This strategy provides a forward direction for natural resource management, managing cultural heritage assets, and social growth and aspirations," he said

Ms Boyle congratulated the regions, saying the strategy met the challenge of maintaining and improving ecological and environmental health.

Attached is a list of key programs funded by the Regional Investment Strategies.

Further media inquiries: Minister Truss' office:

Kylie Butler - 02 6277 7520 or 0417 652 488 Senator Campbell's office:

Renae Stoikos - 02 62777 640 or 0418 568 434 Minister Robertson's office:

Paul Lynch - 07 3896 3688 or 0417 728 676 Minister Boyle's office:

Louise Foley - 07 3227 8825 or 0407 966 829

© Commonwealth of Australia 2002 | Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry | Other AFFA Ministers | Prime Minister's website

The Queensland Murray Darling Committee’s Regional Investment Strategy (2004/05 - 2006/07). Below are some of the strategy’s goals:

Land and soils - 200 properties per year participating in targeted incentives programs covering 60 000ha (eg weed control, riparian-zone fencing, sustainable grazing) - 8 new sub-catchment groups established each year - Salinity research in high-risk areas Riverine, floodplain and wetlands - 110 targeted properties per year assisted with incentives - 55km of priority riparian zone fenced each year - 6 wetland areas under voluntary agreements aimed at improving management Vegetation and biodiversity - 80 landholders participating in best management practice incentives programs

covering 45 000 hectares - An increase from 12% (in first year) to 22% (in the third year) of rural landholders who have implemented nature conservation plans - Regional flora and fauna database established by December 2006 Weeds and pests - Identification and control/management actions for 15 pests per catchment - 10% increase per year in the number of landholders participating in strategic, coordinated control/management programs - Coordination of research across 5 key organisations Institutional assets - 60 key monitoring sites established - 8 new community groups conducting monitoring each year for three years - GIS-based information systems available at 3 community service centres Community capital - 175 landholders attending accredited training per year and a further 30 community members receiving financial incentives to participate (eg childcare) - 100 workshops conducted for landholders and community members in key NRM topics such as weeds, vegetation, water quality, land management, communication, etc - 1200 landholders participating in a facilitated NRM activity each year Water - Support 2 sub-catchment/catchment groups to develop local water quality guidelines each year from 2004 to 2006 - 8 shires participating in Waterwise - On-farm irrigation systems assessed each year from 2004 to 2006 and more efficient systems promote as they become available Aboriginal interests and cultural assets - 4 key sites protected - 1 cultural heritage condition trend report completed - 2 public forums on indigenous NRM issues Energy and waste (No budget allocation, although investment will be sought for this program, which will focus on water-use and energy efficiency and sustainable waste management.)