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Labor's local environment credentials evaporating fast.



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Federal Member for Wannon

Hamilton Office 190 Gray St, HAMILTON VIC 3300 Warrnambool Office 73 Kepler St WARRNAMBOOL VIC 3280 Freecall 1300 131 692 E David.Hawker.MP@aph.gov.au W www.davidhawker.com.au

Federal Member for Wannon

10 July 2008

LABOR’S LOCAL ENVIRONMENT CREDENTIALS EVAPORATING FAST

The Labor Government has slashed funding for the environment and local on-the-ground programs are suffering.

Federal Member for Wannon, David Hawker, today demanded Labor reinstate funding for vital local environment projects.

“Local landowners are outraged that funding for plantations and other environmental works, which have been so successful over recent years, has almost completely dried up or is being significantly limited” Mr Hawker said.

“When you drive around the local countryside these days it’s so encouraging to see the number of new plantations on properties and trees planted along local waterways. Much of this is a direct result of programs administered through local Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs).

“It’s astonishing that these important on-the-ground programs are now under threat from the very Government that campaigned on their environmental credentials!”

Labor’s first Budget, delivered in May, saw 40% of funding for local CMAs slashed, and 20% cut from local Landcare networks.

Mr Hawker said the Labor Government mislead Western Victorians on the environment.

“This Government is obsessed with photo opportunities and symbolic gestures like signing the Kyoto Protocol, but when it comes to practical on-the-ground projects they’re nowhere to be seen,” he said.

“It’s not just CMAs, Landcare works are also at risk, with recent job losses in other parts of the State and no clarity surrounding future funding.

“Some of these Landcare networks are holding onto their facilitators at a pinch and expect to be totally “bare boned” by this time next year unless extra funding is committed.

“These groups have been the backbone of local environmental initiatives for the past 25 years, creating woodlots, shelterbelts, fencing and revegetating waterways, landclass fencing, salinity pasture and sponsoring countless community engagement activities.”

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Media contact: Jane Templeton (03) 5572 1100