Image via WikipediaThe Gillard Government will invest $66.4 million in the environment, sustainable agriculture and natural resource management projects under a new round of Country for our Country funding.
Environment Minister, Tony Burke, Minister for Agriculture, Senator Joe Ludwig, and Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Dr Mike Kelly, today announced base-level funding across 22 regional natural resource management organisations for 2011-12 and 2012-13.
"Volunteers and community groups make a real contribution to our natural environment," Minister Burke said. "Caring for our Country supports these volunteer groups to continue their good work. "This funding will be invested across the 22 regions on natural resource management activities including disaster recovery initiatives in Queensland and priorities identified in an integrated 10-year plan for the Northern Territory."
Across Australia, there are 56 regional natural resource management organisations and 34 of these have already had their base-level funding fully approved for the first five-years of the Caring for our Country initiative.
Minister Ludwig said this funding was part of the $711 million in allocated base-level funding over the five years of the Caring for our Country initiative. "This newly committed base-level funding for 22 regional areas will be vital for local community groups engaged with sustainable agriculture," Minister Ludwig said.
"Funded activities range from weed removal and pest management, to fencing off critical habitat areas and providing support to farmers in flood and cyclone affected areas.
"In the Burdekin region, for instance, a focus will be to restore several nature refuges affected by damaged stock exclusion fencing, access tracks and fire breaks from fallen trees." Dr Kelly said community groups would also be able to support the natural environment.
"Over the next two years, work will be undertaken to protect the native habitat of endangered and threatened species such as Carnaby's Cockatoo in Western Australia, the Southern Black-Throated Finch in Queensland and the Yellow-Footed rock wallaby in South Australia," Dr Kelly said.
Other priorities for the new funding round are enhancing coastal protection and critical aquatic habitats and supporting the development of community skills, knowledge and engagement.