More funding crucial for NRM groups

Thursday, 16th April 2009

The Avon Catchment Council says a report into the importance of natural resource management groups reinforces the need for ongoing funding.

The State government is expected to decide on future funding for NRM and the regional groups in the lead up to the budget announcement in May.

The study focused on catchment councils in the Avon, South Coast, South West, Northern Agricultural, Rangelands and Perth regions.

It found substantial environmental, social and economic benefits from the six groups and their partnerships with community and governments at all levels.

The Avon Catchment Council’s chair Glenice Batchelor said the study was commissioned by the NRM groups.

“We needed to use an outside consultancy to find out if we really were making a difference,”Glenice Batchelor said.

“It found this was the case, and that we were effective in combining science and current research with on-ground action, crucial when it came to looking after the environment.”

An example of this is the Avon Catchment Council’s work with the Saltland Pastures Association, Department of Agriculture and Food WA, the Catchment Demonstration Initiative and the CRC for Future Farm Industries

“By working with these organizations and individual farmers we now have almost 300 sites in the Avon to demonstrate that saline land can be a productive part of a farming system.”

Glenice Batchelor said the Avon Catchment Council was already facing a cut in its annual budget allocation from $12 million to less than $4 million for the 2009-2010 financial year.

“We’ve been earmarked for funding from the Commonwealth government through the Caring for our Country program to tackle wind erosion, pests and weeds, improve the natural reserve system and indigenous activities in the Avon,” Glenice Batchelor said.

“We now need the State government to help guarantee the future of community based natural resource management including important works on water management and salinity.”

The State government contributed $250,000 to the Avon Catchment Council for the 2008-2009 financial year

“Through proper planning and budgeting we have managed to carry over $3 million of funding from the State government from previous years, which will help continue the on ground activity that is really starting to impact in our region” Glenice Batchelor said.

“But we have no other ongoing commitment for the 2009-2010 financial year, which is crucial when planning our projects.

“Without a firm financial commitment from the State government, it makes continuing the good work very challenging.”

A copy of the “Review of the Value of Regional NRM Groups in Delivering NRM” can be found at www.nrm.wa.gov.au/waRegionlNrmGroups.htm

Contact: Glenice Batchelor, ACC chair, 0428 371224