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Funds continue for Natural Heritage Trust.

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AFFA01/131WT 25 May 2001

Funds continue for Natural Heritage Trust

"Claims by the Victorian Minister for Environment and Conservation, Sherryl Garbutt, that the Natural Heritage Trust has been ‘ditched’ are completely wrong and scurrilous," the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Warren Truss, said today.

"The $1 billion for the extension of the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) announced in the Budget maintains funding levels for a further five years," Mr Truss said.

"The Budget announcement commits the Federal Government to the NHT for the long haul and is not, as Minister Garbutt has falsely claimed, 'a significant move away from natural resource management.'

"Ms Garbutt's dishonest claims in her press statement this week exposed Labor's embarrassment of its own dismal effort in environmental funding.

"Not only has the Federal Government allocated a further $1 billion over five years to the NHT, it has also set aside a further $700 million to tackle water and salinity issues.

"Victoria has done extremely well from the Trust. It has so far received $186 million from the Trust since its inception. Victoria is also a major beneficiary under the Salinity and Water Quality Action Plan. Priority regions in Victoria include the Goulburn-Broken, Glenelg-Corangamite, Avoca-Loddon-Campaspe, and part of the Lower Murray and Murray regions.

"The sustainable and integrated management of Australia's land and water resources is the Government's key environmental priority. The NHT extension and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality will help achieve this vital objective.

"This is the biggest investment in Australia's history to tackle natural resource and environment issues. Australia leads the world in terms of government delivery of integrated environmental and sustainable agriculture outcomes.

"As at 30 April, 2001, $1.17 billion had been approved for more than 10,300 NHT projects, involving hundreds of thousands of volunteers, through programs such as Landcare, Bushcare, Coast and Clean Seas, and Endangered Species.

"The NHT has been effective in attracting funds from other parties. It is estimated that, to date, for every $1 provided from the NHT for on-ground projects, about $3 has been contributed by the community, farmers and other parties in cash or in kind.

"The Government is extending the successful NHT with additional funding of more than $1 billion from 2002-03 to 2006-07, in addition to the $1.5 billion already committed from 1996-97 to 2001-02.

"The average expenditure for the first five years of the NHT ($1.5 billion) was about $250 million, and the average for the next five years will be at least $250 million. There clearly has been no reduction in funding and the extra $1 billion will be funded from the Budget without a further sale of Telstra.


Minister's office: Yvonne Best (02) 6277 7520 or 0418 415 772

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Last updated 25 May 2001

URL: Commonwealth of Australia 2000