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Australia's first national body to manage natural resources.

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Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Robert Hill

AFFA01/234WTJ 30 August 2001

Australia's first national body to manage natural resources

History will be made tomorrow with the inaugural meeting of the Australian Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council which will take responsibility for sustainable management of land, water, vegetation and other natural resource issues.

The Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council will be the first national forum to draw together Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resource Ministers from the Commonwealth, State and Territories.

Federal Agriculture Minister Warren Truss and Environment Minister Robert Hill will jointly chair the meeting in Parliament House, Canberra.

Early issues will include implementing the $1.4 billion National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality and the $2.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

Its scope will also include environmental flows, conservation of endangered species and ecological communities, migratory birds and wetlands.

The Ministers said that this national approach reflects our commitment to improve the management of our natural assets — our land and water, animals and plants.

It will increase protection of the environment, improve the health of ecosystems and maintain the sustainability of our landscapes and rural industries.

The new Council will improve cooperation and engagement across a wide range of sectors, providing short and long-term benefits for all Australians.

This initiative means the sustainable use and management of our natural and environmental resources can be addressed together with the conservation of biodiversity.

By bringing different perspectives to the one-table, establishment of the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council will help integrate decision-making and affirms the joint approach to natural resource management across all Australian governments.

Media opportunity

Visuals can be taken before meeting is under way and a joint briefing by Ministers Truss and Hill will take place on conclusion.

Venue: Main committee room, Parliament House, Canberra.

Date: 31 August, 2001.

The meeting is scheduled to run from 9am - 1.30pm.

Further inquiries:

Mr Truss's office Yvonne Best (02) 6277 7520 or 0418 415 772 Minister Hill's office Belinda Huppatz 0419 258 364

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