Agriculture Minister Kim Chance has assumed lead ministerial responsibility for salinity and natural resource management in Western Australia.
At a meeting with the Natural Resource Management (NRM) council yesterday, Mr Chance announced he would take the lead role as $316million in additional funding started to flow to a range of programs designed to protect and enhance the State’s natural resources during the next three years.
The Minister would continue to work jointly with Environment Minister Judy Edwards, who would retain responsibility for natural resource management matters associated with the environment or biodiversity.
“This year sees a significant change in the Government’s program supporting our natural resources and combating salinity,” Mr Chance said.
“Much of the strategic and planning work is finished and the program is moving to an exciting operational phase where on-the-ground works can achieve real improvements.
“There are many challenges ahead of us, but I am confident the State’s partnership with the regional NRM groups and the Australian Government will see action taken to protect and enhance our natural resources.
“One of the challenges I would particularly like to address is improving communications between the Australian Government and the Western Australian Government in order to ensure our regional NRM groups can access NAP funds efficiently and effectively.”
Mr Chance said the majority of the increased funding would be channelled through six regional NRM groups for the Avon, South Coast, Rangelands, Northern Agricultural, South West and Swan Catchment areas.
“All six regions are close to finalising their regional strategies and as of July 1, we will be moving to start implementing their strategies,” he said.
The strategies reflect the Gallop Government’s commitment to the protection and enhancement of many of Western Australia’s key natural assets such as its unique biodiversity, productive agricultural land, coastal environments and precious waterways.
Mr Chance said the regional delivery process already demonstrated the benefits of extensive co-operation among all partners and he planned to meet regularly with the six NRM groups to build further on that current level of co-operation.
Minister's office: 9213 6700