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Tasmania's rural communities receive $5.83 million in funding.

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The Hon. Tony Burke MP Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Tasmania's rural communities receive $5.83 million in funding 31 July 2008 DAFF08/093BJ

Joint Media Release The Hon Peter Garrett MP Australian Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts and The Hon Tony Burke MP Minister for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Rural communities in the Cradle Coast region, along with the Tasmanian Devil and the Wedge Tailed Eagle, are beneficiaries of a $5.83 million Caring for our Country funding package to protect and restore Tasmania’s natural resources.

Announced today by Australian Government Ministers for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke, the funds will go towards improving some of Tasmania’s most serious environmental problems.

Mr Burke said the Cradle Coast community would benefit from projects to protect the highly fertile soils of the region and improve water quality.

“The Cradle Coast contains 66 per cent of Tasmania’s prime agricultural land. Protecting soil and water quality through improved farming practices such as controlled traffic farming, soil mulching and improving dairy effluent management will bring about positive economic outcomes for farmers as well as delivering environmental benefits,” Mr Burke said.

It’s a win-win for farmers and the environment.

“Funding will also be invested in larger-scale conservation; where economic, agricultural, health and social impacts are considered alongside environmental impacts.”

Mr Garrett said a significant proportion of the funding would also be used to protect threatened species across the state.

“The Wedge Tailed Eagle and the Tasmanian Devil are Australian icons, but a changing environment, disease and urban growth are all putting pressure on these wonderful creatures,” Mr Garrett said.

“The natural resource management body in northern Tasmania will protect the nests of the Wedge Tailed Eagle by limiting public access and establishing protective vegetation screens around the nests.

“The funding will also be used to improve vegetation corridors across Tasmania to provide easier movement and safer breeding grounds for the Tasmanian Devil and support communities to restore wetlands and re-vegetate degraded areas,” he said.

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NRM South, Tasmania: $1.80 million The Southern Tasmanian Region is rich in internationally renowned natural icons and natural resources. These include four Ramsar listed wetlands, the South West and Macquarie Island World Heritage Areas, 75 nationally listed threatened flora and fauna species as well as a significant and diverse coastal environment. Much of the coastal zone is undergoing substantial development with implications for biodiversity, water quality and critical aquatic habitats; whilst much of the inland region, supporting the Regions’ productive landscapes, is in drought. This regional diversity is one of the key challenges facing natural resource managers in Southern Tasmania, and where NRM South plays a pivotal role. Some program objectives are to: maintain and improve the status of the forty Spotted Pardalote, Swift Parrot and other EPBC listed threatened species; build on partnerships with local government, the Southern Tasmanian Councils Authority, local community groups and land managers to control all priority weeds on the iconic Tasman Peninsula; protect and improve the key natural resource values in the catchment, including priority biodiversity values, Ramsar and DIWA listed wetlands and neighbouring natural icon, Freycinet National Park; and build the capacity of communities and local government through knowledge, skills and tools to action and champion natural resource management (including Aboriginal cultural values) in Southern Tasmania. For more information contact Vanessa Elwell-Gavins on 03 6208 6111.

NRM North, Tasmania: $1.97 million The Northern Region of Tasmania is one the most unique places in the world with an abundance of natural ecosystems and iconic species that exist amongst a productive landscape. The investment outlined in this proposal will provide NRM North with the ability to continue effective natural resource management across the Northern Tasmanian region. It will enable NRM North to fulfill its role for the community in seeking future investment to deliver outcomes against the objectives of the community in managing their natural assets and icons. Some program objectives are to: protect habitat areas and refugia of Endangered, Vulnerable and Rare flora and fauna species in northern Tasmania; mitigate the impact of invasive species on natural biodiversity values and sustainable farming practices; protect and enhance Ramsar and other wetlands of national significance found within northern Tasmania; and improve land use management practices to ensure the long-term viability of the natural resource assets on private land in Northern Tasmania. For more information contact James McKee, on 03 6333 7777.

Cradle Coast NRM, Tasmania: $2.06 million The Cradle Coast region contains nationally and globally significant natural and cultural assets including the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area, the Tarkine, Narawntapu National Park and Lavinia State Reserve. The rich diversity of landscapes provides pristine habitats for a range of plants and animals that are found nowhere else in the world, including many rare and endangered species. Good soils and a temperate moist climate combine to make the Cradle Coast the most agriculturally productive region in Tasmania. Over half of the State’s vegetable, milk and beef production originate from the area. With much of the Cradle Coast region’s productivity dependent upon its natural assets and resources, creating a balance between economic profitability, community development and the environment is imperative to ensure a healthy region is maintained and improved. Some program objectives are to: build on state and regional partnerships to deliver on-ground outcomes and support adaptive management of our natural assets; manage impacts and protect flora, fauna, geological and cultural assets in priority environments; improving the condition of priority aquatic habitats and coastal assets through on-ground works, education and improved knowledge; and maintain highly productive soils and protect water quality by reducing soil erosion, reporting on soil condition and engaging with key stakeholders in the agricultural sector. For more information contact Richard Ingram, 03 6431 6285.

Media contacts: Ben Pratt (Minister Garrett): 0419 968 734 Kate Filor (Minister Burke): 0448 467 560