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$1.5 million for innovative natural resource projects.

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AFFA03/241WT - 11 September 2003

$1.5 million for innovative natural resource projects

$1.5 million for innovative natural resource projects

The Australian Government is making available $1.5 million to encourage primary producers to continue adopting more innovative and sustainable production practices, Agriculture Minister Warren Truss announced today.

Mr Truss said the $1.5 million would come from the Natural Resource Innovation Grants initiative - part of the Australian Government's $38 million funding commitment to the National Landcare Program during 2003-04.

"Developing and testing new ideas is essential to ensuring the long-term viability and profitability of businesses, and for protecting Australia's valuable natural resources.

"The initiative will fund projects in Australia's farming, food and forest industries that encourage the on-ground use of innovative land management practices, production techniques, technologies and products," he said.

"This includes areas such as cultivation practices, land management, preventing salinity, and 'systems' approaches to natural resource management. With the dual focus of increasing on-farm profitability and boosting the sustainability of Australia's natural resource base, the grants are very much a win-win program."

Mr Truss said grant funding is available to eligible individuals and businesses, as well as incorporated community groups, involved in Australia's farming, food, forest or related industries. Successful applicants can receive up to 50 per cent of their costs - with a limit of $150,000 per project.

"Boosting productivity and profitability in Australia's rural industries is all about successfully managing change - particularly in tough times such as the present, when we are still battling the effects of one of the worst droughts on record," he said.

"By putting in place innovative land management practices, Australian farmers will help establish much more efficient and sustainable businesses, which will in turn boost the profitability, competitiveness and sustainability of Australia's primary industries.

"As such, these grants, and landcare in general, are helping ensure Australia's primary producers are at the forefront of natural resource management in this country."

Mr Truss said an official call for applications for funding under the initiative will be made through the national weekend and weekly regional press, beginning today (11 September 2003).

Applications close on 17 October 2003. Further information is available at, or by calling the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on (02) 6272 4350.

Further media inquiries:

Minister Truss' office: Tim Langmead - 02 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433