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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 21850

$43 Million Environmental Boost for South Australia

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 02/08/2005

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 21850

JOINT PRESS RELEASETHE HON JOHN HOWARD MP, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIATHE HON. MIKE RANN MP, PREMIER OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Hard-working regional communities across South Australia will benefit from over $43 million in funding to continue to restore the State's natural landscapes and protect precious water resources.

The joint projects were announced today by the Prime Minister, John Howard, and South Australian Premier, Mike Rann.

Mr Howard today visited the Loxton/Bookpurnong region to unveil the projects with the State Minister for the River Murray, Karlene Maywald.

The eight regional packages are funded on a 50/50 basis under the joint Australian and State Government-funded National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust and other in-kind contributions from the State Government.

The Prime Minister said the funding built on the Australian Government's $85 million investment in the State's eight Natural Resource Management regions to date and was over and above funding through other Australian Government initiatives such as the National Water Initiative and the Murray Darling Basin Commission.

"Communities stretching from the desert country of the Arid Lands to the unique Kangaroo Island, and the thriving agricultural industries in the South East are making great progress with environmental and sustainable agriculture projects," he said. $19 million will be directed to projects including salt interception schemes, irrigation infrastructure improvement, habitat protection and restoration for animal and plant management in the Murray Darling Basin region.

"With a number of towns and industries dependent on the River Murray, this and other important projects will tackle salinity and water issues head-on," Mr Howard said.

"The salt interception scheme will help the region clear salt-affected water and repair floodplain drainage areas. Under previous regional funding rounds, $12.1 million has been provided for salt interception schemes in the region. A further $6.15 million will be provided from the additional funding announced today, of which $1 million will be spent on the Loxton salt interception scheme."

Premier Mike Rann says that while the State's funding was more than $10 million, a further $22.7 million of in-kind work will be contributed by the SA Government. "The State Government and each of the communities that will benefit have worked hard to develop these important environmental projects and we're delighted that our bid to get joint Federal funding for them has been successful."

"It has been a truly co-operative effort and shows what can be achieved when State and Federal Governments work together on project for the national good."

"They will help South Australians take better care of their soil, water, marine environments, native vegetation and animals and ecosystems and marshals the collective efforts of rural and urban communities, farmers and other primary producers, conservationists, landowners and Aboriginal communities."

The Prime Minister emphasised that ongoing, grassroots action is essential. For example, the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges will be allocated over $5 million to protect riverbank vegetation, coastal areas and reduce salinity through targeted water use strategies. These investments will help take care of at-risk species such as the Southern Emu Wren and conserve fragile coastal areas.

Over $9 million will also be provided to the key agricultural production regions of Northern and Yorke and the Eyre Peninsula to a range of Natural Resource Management and sustainable agriculture activities, including pest control programmes.

The Alinytjara Wilurara Region has been allocated $4.7 million to support a range of NRM projects including projects to manage weeds and feral animals. "Weeds and feral animals in this region pose a major threat to land and water resources. The majority of pest funding will be applied to on-ground control work," the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister and Premier commended all eight regional bodies that had developed the investment strategies to underpin these investments.

Mr Rann said the work undertaken by interim Natural Resources Management Group members would ensure the newly formed NRM Boards in each of the eight regions had a sound foundation on which to base their work.

A full list of funding is attached. For more information about South Australian regions, the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan, visit www.nrm.gov.au.

Transcript 21850