Agriculture Minister Kim Chance has announced State Government funding of $35.2million in 2005-06 to ensure the sustainability of the State’s agricultural sector.
The allocation is part of a $97million joint State and Commonwealth funding commitment to be spent in Western Australia on Natural Resource Management (NRM) during the next financial year.
“This funding will go towards implementing six accredited natural resource management strategies for the Avon, Northern Agriculture, Rangelands, South Coast, South West and Swan Catchment areas,” Mr Chance said.
“The regional strategies, developed by community-based NRM groups, aim to protect a wide range of assets valued by the community such as agriculture, biodiversity, water supplies, rural infrastructure such as rural towns and transport links, and our coastal and marine resources.”
The Minister said the funding was being directed to large-scale activities that would achieve landscape-scale results such as the Collie Catchment Recovery Project.
The Collie project had been allocated $15.4million to reduce salinity in the Collie River and Wellington reservoir to potable levels through a range of engineering and land management solutions.
“The Gallop Government is ensuring regional WA receives its fair share,” Mr Chance said.
Strategic tree farming projects would receive $5.9million for the planting of trees on a commercial scale to generate income and lower water table to prevent salinity.
Mr Chance said funding to the Department of Agriculture would specifically focus on ensuring the sustainability of WA agriculture including continued funding of salinity and climate research projects.
“Of this, $1.27million is set aside for the Catchment Demonstration Initiative, which is set up in four catchments across the State to demonstrate activities that mitigate or manage salinity at a catchment level,” he said.
In the Avon region, salinity management will be a priority and will focus on the expansion of commercial tree crops and deep-rooted perennials, with a focus on low rainfall zone species.
The Minister said on-ground works in the Northern Agriculture region would include development of an integrated catchment management plan for the upper Chapman River catchment.
He said projects to manage salinity included classification of the groundwater flow systems and specifying feasible options for land rehabilitation.
On the south coast, catchment land use plans would be developed together with industry best management practices. At the same time, perennial production systems would be implemented in priority catchments.
Mr Chance said the rural towns program would be activated in the South-West and other efforts would focus on improving fertiliser management on farms and demonstrating sustainable grazing of saltlands.
The South-West would also be assessed for potential saline aquaculture enterprises.
Minister's office: 9213 6700