28 July 2008
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.
The Great Barrier Reef and Queensland’s Burdekin Dry Tropics rangelands are among the beneficiaries of a $25.7 million Caring for our Country 2008-09 regional investment funding package announced today.
Australian Government Ministers for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke, said the package would fund a range of activities across Queensland to further build on sustainable land management practices and maintain or rebuild resilient ecosystems.
The Ministers said the Caring for our Country funding focuses on six national priorities: the national reserve system; biodiversity and natural icons; coastal environments and critical aquatic habitats; sustainable farm practices; natural resource management in remote and northern Australia and community skills, knowledge and engagement.
Minister Garrett said a resilient ecosystem is one that can withstand shocks and rebuild itself when necessary. It is an environment that can accommodate change, adapt to new pressures and develop mechanisms to cope with stress.
“Our challenge is to ensure all the work we do today towards the sustainable management of our environment improves its resilience to cope with the pressures of a changing climate,” Mr Garrett said.
The scope of projects is broad and ranges from protecting endangered species of plants and animals that help to sustain the ecosystems in which they live to rehabilitating selected habitats, controlling weeds and pests and reducing sediment run-off into inland and coastal waterways.
In the Burdekin, for example, $2.6million in funds will deliver improved land management practices on a regional-scale to reduce land degradation and soil erosion that currently spills more than 4.5 megatonnes of sediment into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon each year.
Minister Burke said that farmers and graziers across Queensland would benefit from a range of investments that aim to improve land management practices on an individual property and regional scale.
Landholders across regions and landscapes will be encouraged to develop individual property plans that could feed into larger scale regional plans. Such plans would then guide pest management, sustainable grazing land management, habitat protection and rehabilitation, soil conservation and salinity management activities now and in the future.
“Enabling landholders to work together across a region or regions means we can work together to bring about landscape-scale improvements , which deliver even greater benefits in terms of water and soil quality and therefore productivity. Queenslanders value the natural assets of their state, and the Australian Government recognises it is important they are supported in maintaining both the ecological and productive values of their state for the benefit of the whole community,” Minister Burke said.
For more information visit www.nrm.gov.au
Ben Pratt (Minister Garrett) ph 0419 968 734
Kate Filor (Minister Burke) ph 0448 467 560