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Canberra To Host International Landcare Forum

The Hon Mark Vaile MP Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry

AFFA99/107V 7 July 1999

An International Landcare Forum will be held in Canberra on Tuesday, August 24, 1999, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Mark Vaile, announced today.

"Australians are proud of their landcare movement and its achievements," he said.

"Landcare has significantly raised people's awareness of the importance of sustainable natural resource management.

"There are more than 4,000 landcare groups around Australia involved in a wide range of activities to improve production, restore land and water resources and conserve biodiversity.

"The Federal Government has been supporting landcare and a range of related programs through its Natural Heritage Trust, which it recently topped up with an extra $250 million from the second Telstra sale, to a total of $1.5 billion over six years.

"Landcare is increasingly the subject of international interest as an example of what can be achieved through voluntary community-based groups.

"Many enthusiastic Australians are ready to share their experiences with others from overseas, letting those countries see how Australia is tackling natural resource management issues."

Mr Vaile said a number of Australian groups and individuals were involved in international natural resource management activities, including foreign aid, tourism, service provision, corporate, research, community and government sectors.

"It's important all these sectors are aware of the potential application of the landcare concept and techniques to their work," he said.

"Also, those directly involved in landcare in Australia can benefit from learning of the work of others pursuing similar objectives overseas, such as aid project workers, training providers and scientists.

"The International Landcare Forum will improve connections between these various sectors and allow them to exchange ideas on opportunities for international promotion, particularly trade opportunities," Mr Vaile said.

Speakers will present papers from a number of perspectives, including the foreign aid and commercial sectors. Outcomes from the forum will be followed up at the International Landcare 2000 Conference in Melbourne, 2-5 March 2000.

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