AUS$28.5m Govt funding for soil carbon projects
The Rudd Government has announced more than AUS$28.5 million in funding to support 137 local and community groups with environmental and sustainable farming projects under Caring for our Country. Environment Minister, Peter Garrett and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke, said grants of between AUS$80,000 and AUS$400,000 would assist catchment management bodies, farmer and community groups, universities and industry organisations.
Projects will include work to protect endangered species in the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia; manage weeds in the Fitzroy Basin in Western Australia; improve soil carbon storage, restore seabird habitat on Montague Island off the coast of NSW, protect platypus in Tasmania and protect turtles in Arnhem Land.
The package includes more than $5.5 million for sustainable farming practices; $8.9 million for Landcare projects; more than $7.3 million for biodiversity and natural icons, more than $5.7 million for coasts and critical aquatic habitats and more than $1.1 million for other projects.
“These 137 grants, part of the Rudd Government’s $2.25 billion commitment to Caring for our Country, will lead to significant environmental benefits and advances in land management practices in all states and territories,” Mr Garrett said.
“Through Caring for our Country, the Government is taking a comprehensive, targeted and integrated approach to natural resource management funding, encouraging organisations to work together to deliver on national priorities.
“Many projects funded through this Open Grants scheme look beyond their local environmental issues to link up with others to deliver better environment and land management practices on a larger scale.
“For example, the Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority’s project Murray Mouth to Mountains Ecosystem Corridors will bring together ten catchment management organisations along the length of the Murray River. They will work together to build on and create links of native vegetation between the river and the ridgeline areas from the Murray mouth in South Australia, through NSW, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory to the recently National Heritage Listed Australian Alps.”
The ministers said climate change and other pressures such as invasive weeds and pests underlined the need for the Government to continue to work in partnership with communities to help ensure the future of Australia’s environment and farming industries.
Minister Burke said Australia’s farmers were world-leaders in sustainable land management and the funding would help them to continue their environmental work.
“Our farmers understand the harsh Australian environment and the need to look after our precious landscape,” Mr Burke said.
“These grants allow local projects to build on farmers’ good work.
“Through Caring for our Country, the Government continues to recognise that work and provide funding support so it can continue.
“One example is a project in the northern agricultural region of Western Australia to encourage the planting of the native shrub melaleuca, to minimise the effects of salinity on farms.
“This will provide both biodiversity benefits including lowering the water table and revegetation of land affected by salinity.
“At the same time, prunings from the melaleuca trees can be harvested for brushwood fencing material. This is a win for both the environment and farmers,” Mr Burke said.
“We look forward to working together to secure a sustainable, resilient and productive environment for all Australians to share.”