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The Commonwealth's Environmental Expenditure

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Chapter 2: Strategic Directions and Budget Overview

Australia has made significant advances in recent years in managing and protecting the environment. Successes include establishing the world's first greenhouse office; focussing attention on oceans through Australia's Oceans Policy; and involving Australian communities in the repair and conservation of their own environments through the Natural Heritage Trust.

Success has been the result of partnerships with community, industry, state and local governments. The next 12 months will see a strengthening of the partnership framework.

The Government is moving to integrate the principles of sustainable development into programmes across all government agencies, as well as improving the sustainability of departments' in-house operations.

This section sets out the priorities for 2000-01, and illustrates the implementation of the Government's conceptual framework for environmental and heritage protection. The second half of the chapter summarises the Government's environmental expenditure and describes new spending measures in this Budget.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 begins on 16 July 2000. The Act is the most fundamental reform of Commonwealth environmental laws since the first environmental statutes were enacted in the early 1970s. The Act defines the environmental responsibilities of the Commonwealth and allows the Commonwealth, states and territories to combine in a national scheme of environmental protection and biodiversity conservation.

Implementation of the Act will focus the Commonwealth on matters of national environmental significance, allowing a streamlined environmental assessment and approvals process, an integrated regime for biodiversity conservation, and the management of important protected areas. The Commonwealth will be able to accredit state and territory environmental assessment processes and, in limited circumstances, decisions, where a state or territory meets the rigorous requirements of the Act.

Community participation in meeting the objectives of the Act is encouraged through the wide range of opportunities for public comment and consultation. The Act recognises the role of indigenous people in biodiversity conservation. The Act will better equip the Commonwealth to deal with new issues.

Business of Sustainable Development

There are significant opportunities for businesses that adapt to sustainable development. Reducing environmental impacts will be achieved by increasing the resource efficiency of business operations as well as reducing waste. The net result of such actions is cost savings and enhanced competitiveness. This is being recognised internationally where principles of sustainable development are providing opportunities for innovation, improved product quality and efficiency.

The Government recognises that the business sector has already undertaken activities to increase its sustainability. Many businesses have improved their environmental performance by adopting environmental policies and environmental management systems. Some companies publish environmental reports openly describing their environmental impacts and their contributions to sustainable development. There also has been strong participation in government programmes, such as the Greenhouse Challenge, where many companies have signed voluntary agreements to improve their environmental performance. Businesses are realising that their competitiveness depends on addressing environmental issues.

Achieving sustainability involves business embracing the concept of eco-efficiency - providing goods and services more efficiently while reducing resource consumption and environmental impacts. This can be done by reducing the material and energy intensity of goods and services, maximising recycling and renewable resource use, reducing pollution, and increasing product durability and service intensity. Environment Australia will develop partnerships with industry to address the barriers that businesses face in implementing eco-efficiency.

A preferred alternative to more stringent environmental regulation is to involve business, whose decisions have such an important impact on environmental quality, in a partnership to improve environmental performance and improve living standards.

Achieving sustainable development in Australia requires producers and consumers to take account of the social and environmental impacts of their activities. The Government is seeking to equip business with the information and skills necessary to adopt more environmentally sensitive practices. These are the first moves towards an economy that takes proper account of the wider impacts of resource use - a transition involving a wide variety of initiatives and behavioural changes by government, business and consumers. Enhancing the capacity of business to deal with environmental issues not only reduces the costs of meeting future environmental targets and standards, it also provides new business opportunities.

There are a number of examples of the Government working with industry to reduce environmental impacts by reducing waste and increasing resource efficiency.

The Government is committed to reducing waste going to landfill and in July 1999 developed, in cooperation with other governments and stakeholders from industry, a National Packaging Covenant. The covenant will minimise the environmental impacts of packaging waste and develop economically viable and sustainable recycling collection systems. The Government will continue to encourage industry to be responsible for its waste through programmes such as waste management awareness and developing eco-efficiency agreements with different industry sectors.

In 2000-01, the Government will ensure environmentally sustainable management, refining and reuse of waste oil by introducing a levy on lubricating oils to finance recycling.

To achieve ecologically sustainable development, Australian industry must have access to leading environmental technology and management methods. The Government therefore supports Australia's environment technology industries, which offer improved domestic performances and significant export opportunities. The Australian environment industry will be showcased at the 2000 Sydney Olympics as a leader in environmental management.

The Government has developed a National Pollutant Inventory whereby large companies report their emissions of certain chemicals to the environment. There is now public access to nearly 1,200 reports on emissions from industrial facilities across Australia.

The Living Cities Programme - A New Urban Agenda

Australians living in cities are concerned about air pollution, fouled waterways, and refuse finding its way into the stormwater system and spoiling our beaches. The Government provided an extra $50 million over three years in the 1999-2000 Budget to create the Living Cities Programme to address the problems of air quality, urban waterways, waste management, chemical collection, urban vegetation and coastal water quality. Combating urban air pollution is a priority: a national strategy to monitor and manage emissions will concentrate on such air toxics as dioxins, benzene and formaldehyde.

Considerable progress has been made. Chemical collections under the Chemwatch program began in April; a public information program generated substantial interest in the compressed natural gas refuelling element of the programme; the Urban Stormwater Initiative began in February and works will begin in July; and the Cleaner Water Initiative began in February. The Air Toxics programme also is well underway.

Natural Heritage Trust

In 2000-01 the Commonwealth Government will allocate more than $360 million to community groups to achieve on-ground results in environmental protection and conservation through the Natural Heritage Trust. Trust funding will be $1.5 billion over six years from 1996-97 to 2001-02. The Trust also has encouraged private sector involvement in environmental protection and sustainable natural resource management. In 1999-2000, every $1,000 of Commonwealth funding generated additional resources in cash or kind worth $7,000.

The mid-term review of the Trust confirmed that it raises community awareness and enables communities to take responsibility for environmental solutions. In 1999-2000 more than 67 per cent of one-stop-shop approvals were for community projects.

To provide better integration of Trust activities, from 2000-01 the Government will place increased emphasis on regional scale projects. The emphasis will be on implementing regional plans where there are well-developed strategic plans in place which focus on national or local priorities. This means that land, water, and biodiversity management problems will be addressed using an integrated regional approach.

For more information on the operation of the Trust, see the section on Natural Heritage Trust Progress later in this chapter and the Working with Community section in Chapter 3.

Australian Greenhouse Office

The Australian Greenhouse Office is the world's only national greenhouse-dedicated agency, established and funded by the Australian Government to help achieve Australia's commitments under the Kyoto protocol. The Government has provided almost $1 billion over four years - the largest amount of funding per capita in the world.

Initiatives to reduce the rate of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions include:

National Oceans Office

The Government has set another international precedent by establishing the National Oceans Office to implement Australia's Oceans Policy. The policy will protect the marine environment and promote the sustainable development of marine resources.

In December 1999, the Government established the National Oceans Office in Hobart, Tasmania, as an Executive Agency under the Australian Public Service Act 1999 and allocated $50 million over three years for implementing the first phase of Australia's Oceans Policy. The first Director was appointed in April 2000.

The centrepiece of the policy is the development of regional marine plans. The Government will establish an integrated planning process for the marine waters out to 200 nautical miles and the extended continental shelf beyond that.

The first regional marine plan will be for the south-east marine region, comprising waters off Victoria, Tasmania including Macquarie Island, eastern South Australia, and southern New South Wales. The area of this region is about 2 million square kilometres - the equivalent of around one-quarter of the continental landmass of Australia.

Senator Robert Hill, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, launched the south-east regional marine plan process at the National Oceans Forum in Hobart in April 2000.

As part of the plan, the National Oceans Office has funded high-resolution seabed mapping in the south-east marine region and adjacent areas. Some $1.2 million will be spent to charter a marine geoscience vessel to undertake the survey work.

Building on seabed survey work, a major cooperative programme aims to develop rapid acoustic seabed habitat survey methods. The National Oceans Office is providing $1.6 million of the total cost of some $2.7 million.

World Heritage

The Government spends more than $50 million each year to manage World Heritage properties. Much of it is for the management of the four World Heritage properties for which the Commonwealth has direct responsibility: the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta national parks, and the Territory of Heard and McDonald Islands. A big part is used to supplement state funding so state-managed World Heritage properties meet the high standards required. During the past four years the Government has given more than $61 million to the states for the management of World Heritage properties.

The funds have been directed to projects identified as priorities in each property's management plan, supported as priorities by the community and scientific advisory committees, that focus on practical outcomes. The Wet Tropics Cassowary Recovery Strategy (see the case study in the Government in Partnership Chapter) is a project that met all of these criteria and has contributed to excellent World Heritage management.

Indigenous Australians

The Environment and Heritage portfolio interacts with indigenous Australians across all its activities. Environment and heritage have several dimensions: country, culture, biodiversity and recognition of skills. Integrated management achieves social and economic benefits as well.

Particular initiatives are listed on the next page.

Threatened and Migratory Species

Included in this Budget is provision to enhance protection for threatened species and communities, and migratory species. Additionally the Government is seeking the international protection of all albatross species. Measures to protect migratory waterbirds and their habitat along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway are a priority for 2000-01.

Implementation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 will strengthen the Commonwealth's capability to conserve the national environment. One significant measure concentrates on the protection of wetlands of international significance listed under the Ramsar Convention.

Water Reform

Reform of national management of water resources remains a priority. Government policy has been guided by the Council of Australian Governments' Water Reform Framework, a strategic framework for reform.

The Water Reform Framework has ensured environmental impacts are considered in water use decisions. Water allocations from overused rivers and aquifers have ceased. New dams are being assessed on their ecological sustainability. Water management plans that provide adequate environmental flows in surface and groundwater are being developed. These reforms combined with other initiatives within the Natural Heritage Trust are helping to reverse the widespread degradation of Australia's land and water assets.

Land Clearing

Through the Natural Heritage Trust Partnership Agreements the Government has worked with the states and territories to reduce clearing of native vegetation. States and territories have committed to better manage and protect native vegetation, including measures to retain and manage native vegetation, and controls on clearing.

The Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council endorsed the National Framework for the Management of Australia's Native Vegetation in December 1999 as a national strategy to manage and monitor native vegetation.

Philanthropy

The Government will continue to encourage involvement by private individuals and organisations in managing and conserving the environment.

Recent changes to taxation laws to encourage donations of land for environmental purposes include:

These measures will encourage donations of land with significant conservation values, often land that people have cared for over many years but may not have been in a position to donate without a tax deduction. Allowing five-year apportionment is of particular significance to people who are not able to write off the donation of a large asset against their income in a single year.

Funding for the Environment

Good environmental practice is embodied in all Commonwealth policies and programmes. This statement of the Commonwealth's environmental expenditure therefore describes the full suite of Commonwealth environmental programmes and activities, and identifies new measures in the 2000-01 Budget designed to achieve better environmental outcomes across all portfolios.

Financial information and descriptions of programmes present information currently available. Identification of environmental expenditure depends on the extent to which spending can be ascribed to environmental purposes, and this varies across programmes. Inevitably, some environmental expenditure cannot be accurately recorded.

Commonwealth environmental expenditure covered by the environmental programmes undertaken by the Environment and Heritage portfolio and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio are shown in Table 2.1.

Figures in Table 2.1 for the Environment and Heritage portfolio present estimated expenditures for environmental outcomes on an accrual basis with outyear estimates in outturn prices. The figures include corporate resources, which have been allocated across outputs and outcomes.

Table 2.1: Environmental Expenditures Undertaken by the Environment and Heritage, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Portfolios

Description

1999-00
$m

2000-01

$m

2001-02

$m

2002-03

$m

2003-04
$m

Environment and Heritage portfolio

         

      Outcome 1: Environment, especially aspects that are matters of national environmental significance, is protected and conserved(a)

461.6

714.1

711.5

465.3

440.7

      Outcome 2: Australia benefits from meteorological and related science and services(b)

7.4

7.2

7.2

7.1

7.0

      Outcome 3: Australia's interests in Antarctica are advanced

98.0

100.3

102.0

103.6

104.7

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio

202.7

182.1

141.5

76.1

16.6

 

769.7

1003.7

962.2

652.1

569.0

(a) Funding of $896 million from the A New Tax System - Measures for a Better Environment package is reflected in the above figures from 2000-01 to 2003-04.

(b) The Bureau of Meteorology figures relate to environmental expenses only and include a proportion of corporate resources.

New Measures

Measures announced since the 1999-2000 Budget and included in the 2000-01 Budget are shown in Table 2.2.

Table 2.2: New Measures

Title of Measure

2000-01

$m

2001-02

$m

2002-03

$m

2003-04
$m

Product Stewardship Arrangements for Waste Oil

       

    Programme - transitional assistance(a)

15.0

15.0

15.0

15.0

    Programme - stewardship benefits(b)

24.7

24.5

24.2

24.0

Establishment of a Regulator for the Mandatory Target for the Uptake of Renewable Energy in Power Supplies(c)

1.6

1.7

1.7

1.5

Interim Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

-

-

-

-

Greenhouse Gas Abatement Programme

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Supporting Renewable Remote Power Generation

66.0

66.0

66.0

66.0

Supporting Photovoltaic Systems

4.0

6.0

9.0

12.0

Compressed Natural Gas and Liquid Petroleum Gas Vehicle Conversion

15.0

20.0

20.0

20.0

Diesel National Environment Protection Measure

10.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme

9.0

12.0

18.0

-

Supporting the Development and Commercialisation of Renewable Energy


4.0


5.0


7.0


10.0

National Biotechnology Strategy(c)

0.3

-

-

-

Adelaide Airport Noise Amelioration

10.3

24.2

23.7

5.5

- denotes nil

(a) Transitional assistance for a stewardship system was appropriated through the Appropriation (Supplementary Measures) Act (No 2) 1999. The measure was identified in the 1999-2000 PAES.

(b) In 1999 the Government approved a stewardship system involving the collection of levy revenue (to be identified in the ATO budget statements) and associated benefit payments to recyclers (identified here). The measure will be included in the 2000-01 PBS and is budget neutral as stewardship benefits are fully offset by the levy revenue.

(c) These measures have been funded internally through reprioritisation.

Product Stewardship Arrangements for Waste Oil

As part of the development of product stewardship arrangements for waste oil, a levy will be applied to lubricating oils and similar products during 2000-01 to fund payments involved in sustainable recycling and reuse of waste oil. Revenue raised through the new levy on lubricating oils and similar products will be paid as an incentive to waste oil recyclers and reusers to support sustainable long-term arrangements for the management of waste oil in Australia.

The product stewardship arrangements for waste oil were announced in May 1999, as part of the A New Tax System - Measures for a Better Environment package. The Government has also committed $60 million over four years for transitional assistance to facilitate the introduction of product stewardship.

Establishment of a Regulator for the Mandatory Target for the Uptake of Renewable Energy in Power Supplies

The Government has decided to establish a regulator as part of the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO) to oversee the implementation and progress towards achieving the mandatory target of an additional 9,500 gigawatt hours of renewable energy used in power supplies by 2010, with enforceable interim targets. The mandatory targets will be achieved by the imposition of legally enforceable liabilities on wholesale purchasers of electricity to proportionately contribute towards supporting the purchase of this additional renewable energy.

The four-year cost of this measure will be $6.5 million, with no net Budget impact. The AGO will fully absorb the costs for the first three years ($5.0 million from 2000-01 to 2002-03), in addition to providing offsets (see above table) for the costs of the fourth year ($1.5m in 2003-04) through savings generated from its budget during the first three years.

The Government agreed to the implementation of the mandatory target for the uptake of renewable energy in power supplies as a result of the Prime Minister's Safeguarding the Future: Australia's Response to Climate Change statement of November 1997.

Interim Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

The Government will allocate funding of $6 million over two years, from existing funding, to the interim Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (the trust is an interim body, pending passage of enabling legislation establishing the trust). The funding will allow the trust to develop management plans for each site and ensure that essential maintenance and security of trust properties occurs, as well as providing limited public access. The properties include North Head, Georges Head, Middle Head, Woolwich Dock and Cockatoo Island.

Greenhouse Gas Abatement Programme

The Government will provide a further $400 million over four years from 2000-01 to 2003-04, under A New Tax System - Measures for a Better Environment, through the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Programme to support measures, particularly in rural and regional areas, that assist Australia in meeting its obligations on climate change. The measure will support activities that are likely to result in substantial reductions in greenhouse emissions or substantial enhancement of carbon sinks, and are consistent with ecologically sustainable development. In making programme choices the Government also will take into account the potential for job creation, new technologies, innovative processes, export potential and the capacity of the programme to act as a catalyst for more non-government investment.

Supporting Renewable Remote Power Generation

The Government will provide up to $264  million over four years from 2000-01 to 2003-04, under A New Tax System - Measures for a Better Environment, as rebates to support the replacement of diesel powered remote power generation with renewable energy. Funding will be made available through the Australian Greenhouse Office to states and territories to subsidise cash rebates up to 50 per cent of the capital value of renewable remote area power supply systems. An estimated $66 million is expected to be collected from excise on diesel for power generation in 2000.

Supporting Photovoltaic Systems

The Government will provide $31 million over four years from 2000-01 to 2003-04, under A New Tax System - Measures for a Better Environment, to support the use of photovoltaics on residential and community use buildings. A cash rebate will be available where residences and community use buildings, such as schools and community halls, install a photovoltaic system for the conversion of sunlight into electricity. This measure will not cover solar thermal generation, such as solar hot water systems, because these systems will benefit from the Government's proposed 2 per cent renewables target programme.

Compressed Natural Gas and Liquid Petroleum Gas Vehicle Conversion

The Government will provide $75 million in grants over four years from 2000-01 to 2003-04, under A New Tax System - Measures for a Better Environment, to implement an Alternative Fuels Conversion Programme. This programme supports the conversion of conventionally fuelled vehicles with a gross vehicle mass weight of at least 3.5 tonnes to either Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG).

Diesel National Environment Protection Measure

The Government will provide $40 million over four years from 2000-01 to 2003-04, under A New Tax System - Measures for a Better Environment, to develop a diesel National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM) and develop in-service diesel vehicle emission testing facilities. The NEPM will address the issue of emissions from all diesel vehicles currently in use in Australia (the in-service fleet), through the establishment of in-service emission standards. The possibility will be explored of extending the use of the testing facilities to an inspection and maintenance testing programme for petrol vehicles.

Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme

The Government will provide $39 million over the three years from 2000-01 to 2002-03, to maintain the current price relativities between diesel and alternative transport fuels by allowing those on-road transport operators who are eligible for the diesel fuel grant to also be eligible for alternative fuel grants. The retention of the existing price differential between diesel and alternative fuels will encourage wider use of alternative fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. Eligible users of alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas, liquid petroleum gas and recycled waste oil, and renewable fuels such as ethanol and canola oil, will attract alternative fuel grants.

Supporting the Development and Commercialisation of Renewable Energy

The Government will provide $26 million over four years from 2000-01 to 2003-04, under A New Tax System - Measures for a Better Environment, to boost the commercialisation of renewable energy. The additional funding will be integrated with the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Programme announced in the Prime Minister's Safeguarding the Future: Australia's Response to Climate Change statement of November 1997.

National Biotechnology Strategy

An environmental risk programme for genetically modified organisms is a component of the National Biotechnology Strategy. As part of the programme the Minister for the Environment and Heritage and the Minister for Health and Aged Care will collaborate with CSIRO on an initial project to improve the knowledge base and monitor risks in the field to address some of the most immediate environmental risk priorities.

Adelaide Airport Noise Amelioration

The Government will provide funding of $60 million over four years to establish a new programme to reduce the impact of aircraft noise in areas around Adelaide Airport. Under the programme, owners of residences and public buildings in areas surrounding the Adelaide Airport subject to high levels of aircraft noise will be eligible to have their buildings insulated. This will help ensure that Adelaide Airport continues to maintain its important contribution to the development of the surrounding region.

Natural Heritage Trust Progress

The Government has committed $1.5 billion to the Natural Heritage Trust over six years from 1996-97 to 2001-02. The investment has been made from the proceeds of the first and second tranche sales of 49 per cent of Telstra. The Trust fosters partnerships between communities, industry and all levels of government to achieve complementary environmental protection and sustainable natural resource management.

More than $700 million has been approved for more than 6,400 Natural Heritage Trust and related projects to improve biodiversity conservation and sustainable agriculture. Most projects have been in rural and regional Australia.

Table 2.3: Natural Heritage Trust Funding(a)

Description

1996-97
$m

1997-98
$m

1998-99
$m

1999-00
$m

2000-01
$m

2001-02
$m

Total
$m

Vegetation

             

Bushcare

3.7

22.2

50.1

99.6

87.1

83.8

346.5

Farm Forestry Programme

-

2.8

6.5

14.1

14.6

9.2

47.2

Inland Waters

             

Murray-Darling Basin 2001

3.8

27.5

34.9

51.6

45.2

32.6

195.6

National Rivercare Programme


-


5.7


14.3


24.6


23.5


14.8


82.9

Riverworks Tasmania

1.7

2.6

0.3

4.2

-

-

8.8

National River Health Programme


0.1


1.6


1.7


6.2


4.5


1.7


15.8

Waterwatch

0.2

2.2

2.4

3.0

2.6

2.6

13.0

National Wetlands Programme


0.5


1.6


1.6


5.8


3.8


3.8


17.1

Biodiversity

             

National Reserve System

0.4

2.9

11.2

30.5

20.0

20.0

85.0

Endangered Species Programme


2.0


2.1


6.9


5.1


5.5


5.4


27.0

Description

1996-97
$m

1997-98
$m

1998-99
$m

1999-00
$m

2000-01
$m

2001-02
$m

Total
$m

Land Resources

             

National Land and Water Resources Audit


1.3


2.4


11.8


12.0


11.5


5.4


44.4

National Feral Animal Control Programme


3.7


3.1


1.6


4.9


3.0


2.6


18.9

National Weeds Programme

2.1

1.3

1.6

12.8

5.9

4.8

28.5

National Landcare Programme (including landcare tax measures)



10.2



30.1



49.0



81.4



77.5



78.5



326.7

FarmBis: Advanced Property Management Planning


0.4


0.3


2.7


6.7


4.9


-


15.0

Coasts and Oceans

             

Oceans Policy

-

-

-

4.1

7.4

8.5

20.0

Coasts and Clean Seas

-

8.6

20.3

36.3

27.2

24.4

116.8

Fisheries Action Programme


-


1.9


2.2


3.8


2.7


2.1


12.7

Environment Protection

             

Waste Management Awareness Programme


0.2


0.6


0.7


2.0


1.3


1.1


6.0

Atmosphere

             

Air Pollution in Major Cities


1.3


1.5


2.4


5.1


4.1


4.1


18.5

Australian Heritage

             

World Heritage Area Management & Upkeep


4.7


10.7


10.0


9.4


8.9


8.9


52.5

 

36.3

131.4

232.1(b)

423.1

361.3

314.7

1499.0

- denotes nil

(a) This table shows approved funding from the Natural Heritage Trust Ministerial Board, and excludes corporate overheads. Due to rounding some columns and rows may not add exactly to totals. The Natural Heritage Trust estimates may vary in the future within overall totals. New measures are expressed in outturn prices and other expenditure and revenue figures are expressed in 1999-2000 prices.

(b) Includes $39.8 million carryover from 1997-98.

Expenditure through the Trust from 2000-01 will emphasise regional scale projects. Such projects, which protect and better manage land, water and biodiversity strategically across a region or catchment, require careful planning of different land uses, industries and communities. Where regions or catchments have well-developed plans or strategies that address national and local priorities, the Trust will support implementation of those strategies, devolving responsibility to regional bodies.

The mid-term review of the Trust's activities confirmed its outstanding contribution to the conservation, sustainable use and repair of Australia's environment. The review found the Trust had raised awareness of environmental issues and enabled communities to take responsibility for environmental solutions. More than 300,000 Australians have participated in Natural Heritage Trust activities. In 1999-2000, more than 67 per cent of one-stop-shop programme approvals (representing the majority of the Trust's programmes including Landcare and Bushcare) were for community projects.

The Natural Heritage Trust generates additional contributions from community groups and their cooperative partners, including state agencies. In 1999-2000, for every $1,000 approved by the Commonwealth for one-stop-shop Natural Heritage Trust projects, resources and in-kind contributions amounted to about $7,000.

Access to and responsibility for such scarce resources as fresh water are important issues. The Trust has enabled cooperative frameworks that will serve Australia well in the future.

For example, the Murray-Darling 2001 initiative, supported with $196 million from the Trust, has mobilised community efforts and increased the understanding among landholders of the problems Australia faces. Water catchments are not defined by state boundaries. The Murray-Darling Basin Commission has been recognised internationally as an example of world's best practice in securing cooperation between different state jurisdictions. The cooperative approach illustrated by the Murray-Darling management provides a first step towards attaining results in achieving effective and equitable water caps, ensuring necessary environmental flows and establishing coordinated salinity strategies.

The lessons learned from the first three years of the Trust will inform a new national natural resource management strategy that will address issues such as land and coastal management, soil degradation, water resources, and loss of biodiversity.

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