State Cabinet has approved a $1 million allocation towards the establishment of a Bush Bank to preserve Western Australia’s native vegetation, Primary Industry Minister Monty House announced today.
The funds, part of the proceeds from the sale of AlintaGas, will provide the foundations for a revolving fund to purchase farm bushland with high conservation value.
The revolving fund is a simple mechanism whereby bush land can be purchased on the open market. A covenant is placed on it to protect the vegetation, before it is on sold to a purchaser who agrees to preserve its conservation value.
Mr House said the Bush Bank was designed to be an ongoing initiative that would continue to attract donations from industry and the wider community to help preserve the State’s natural heritage.
“The Commonwealth Government has indicated it is willing to match the State’s contribution of $1 million, while interested parties have already offered about $1 million worth of donated land,” he said.
“The early support for the Bush Bank indicates that it has the potential to be as successful as its US counterpart, The Nature Conservancy, which raised more than $750 million last year.”
The Bush Bank will be administered by the National Trust and overseen by a board, under a consortia arrangement, including representatives from the WA Landcare Trust, the Conservation Commission, the World Wildlife Fund, State Treasury and the corporate sector.
The Bush Bank is one of the key initiatives to come out of the Native Vegetation Working Group’s recommendations to support landholders in their efforts to protect native vegetation.
Mr House said the report included the development of a number of mechanisms to minimise the economic burden on farmers who protect and retain bushland on their properties.
The mechanisms were established in response to the implementation of the State Government’s 1995 policy to tighten controls on clearing remnant vegetation in rural areas in an effort to address land degradation and salinity encroachment.
Media contact: Minister’s office - 9481 2044