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$26.3 million for the Border Rivers Gwydir Catchment.

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MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon Sandy Macdonald Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade Deputy Leader of The Nationals in the Senate

$26.3 MILLION FOR THE BORDER RIVERS GWYDIR CATCHMENT The Border Rivers Gwydir Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is set to benefit from a $26.3 million cash injection for environmental projects across New England and North West, NSW Senator Sandy Macdonald said today.

The Australian and NSW Governments have jointly announced a total of $274.4 million in funding for nine catchment management authorities in NSW, including the Border Rivers Gwydir Catchment Management Authority.

Senator Macdonald said $1.3 million is for activities to protect native plants and animals in the region.

“Maps of the region’s high conservation value vegetation and an inventory of weeds and feral animals are being produced as a tool for local land managers. These information sources will guide catchment-wide strategic decisions for managing Border Rivers Gwydir’s natural resources,” Senator Macdonald said.

“There will also be a community education program to highlight to landholders the economic benefits that flow out of having a healthy environment on their property by retaining native vegetation.”

“$12 million has been allocated for a suite of projects targeting dryland salinity. These include compiling a map that identifies catchment areas impacted by salinity, planting deep rooted perennial trees and shrubs as a way of tackling salinity, and activities to conserve existing deep rooted plants.”

“The Catchment Management Authority is working with local landholders to promote techniques aimed at reversing the impact of salinity including changing irrigation practices.”

“The region’s waterways will receive a boost from this funding package, with $3.5 million allocated for a range of projects including works to remove culverts, pipes and causeways that are barriers to natural water flows and the passage of threatened native fish such as the silver perch and Murray cod.”

“There will also be on-ground works to improve the Gwydir wetlands, as well as wetlands identified as having cultural value to local Indigenous people.”

“Soil health is the focus of $6 million worth of projects which will work to promote improved land management practices and replanting native vegetation to increase groundcover in the catchment,” Senator Macdonald said.

The funding goes directly to the Border Rivers Gwydir Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and comprises $21.7 million from the $1.4 billion National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, $1.3 million from the Australian Government’s $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust, and $3.3 million from State Sustainability Funding.

Ends….26 September 2005

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