Kim Chance

Kim Chance

Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry; the Mid West and Wheatbelt; Great Southern

    Salinity - No room for complacency

    5/12/2005 12:00 AM

    Agriculture Minister Kim Chance today declared there was no room for complacency in the fight against salinity and warned people not to be fooled by seasonal fluctuations into thinking the threat was receding.

    “Claims that salinity is not a big issue are simply wrong,” Mr Chance said.

    “Dry-land salinity continues to pose a significant threat to Western Australian agriculture, rural towns, water supplies, and biodiversity.

    “While there has been some recent confusion over studies predicting the areas at risk from salinity, the fact remains that there are about two million hectares of land in WA affected by salinity and there is potential for this to more than double if we don’t continue to develop solutions.

    “The Gallop Government recognises the threat and has invested $158million, which is matched by Commonwealth funding to protect the State against the threat of salinity.”

    He said the State Government was funding research and development activities in a wide range of methods required to manage salinity.

    “There is currently a dual approach to salinity of managing or rehabilitating salt-affected land and actions designed to prevent salinity occurring,” Mr Chance said.

    He said there was a range of options available to manage salinity, such as the use of perennial pasture and crops, including trees as well as engineering solutions such as surface water control and deep drains.

    Department of Agriculture monitoring of groundwater levels in WA is based on 1100 bores throughout the State, some of which were established as long ago as 1977.

    The data shows a continual rate of rise in groundwater over the past 28 years in the Northern, Central, South West and South Coast regions.

    The past seven years has seen below average, to average rainfall seasons and this has resulted in a fall in the water table in some areas of the State.

    Although water tables will fluctuate with seasonal conditions, the long-term trend in levels has been upward.

    “The Gallop Government is protecting and enhancing Western Australia’s unique lifestyle.”

    Minister's office: 9213 6700