Land conservation gets a $3 million boost

Wednesday 05 August 2020

MEDIA RELEASE

A $3 million grants program to revitalise private land conservation which will improve both environmental and economic outcomes has been launched by the Marshall Liberal Government.

The Revitalising Private Conservation in South Australia program allows the State Government to work in partnership with private landholders to conserve native vegetation and deliver practical outcomes.

Improving native vegetation on private land protects and enhances biodiversity, improves agricultural efficiency through enhanced water and soil condition as well as helping mitigate the impacts of the changing climate.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs, who visited a farm at Macclesfield to launch the $3 million program, said the revamped Heritage Agreement grants program is a great example of collaboration between the government and private landholders.

“Private land conservation is a major contributor to conserving native vegetation in South Australia and the Marshall Liberal Government is committed to supporting private landholders maintain and improve the bushland on their properties” said Minister Speirs.

“Since Heritage Agreements were introduced in 1980, more than 2,800 landholders have entered into Agreements to ensure the long-term protection of more than a million hectares of the state’s native vegetation.

“Unfortunately, the former Labor Government turned its back on Heritage Agreements reducing the annual funding from $1 million to just $4,000.

“This is just another example of the former government failing to take practical action to improve our environment and ignoring South Australia’s regions - something we are fixing.

“These agreements support the back-to-basics approach of our new Landscapes SA legislation and deliver improved environmental and economic outcomes in partnership with private landholders.

“Importantly, this program has been co-designed in partnership with landholders and the conservation sector resulting in a program which has environmental conservation advocates working hand-in-hand with government and landholders to deliver practical on-ground work.”

The $3 million grants program is now available to landholders who currently have a Heritage Agreement in place and who are interested in improving their bushland.

Revitalising Private Conservation in South Australia grants are available in two categories; small grants, under $10,000 and large grants, over $10,000.

The small grants category is open from 4 August 2020 until the 15 September 2020 with an additional round being offered in 2021, or until all available funds have been committed.

The large grants category will open in March 2021.

Member for Heysen Josh Teague said private landholders are often best placed to deliver meaningful environmental projects.

“Private land conservation areas often contain unique natural values that provide refuge and habitat for threatened species, connecting corridors for native animals to use and complement larger protected areas such as National Parks,” said Mr Teague.

“Heritage Agreements have been delivering positive environmental and economic outcomes throughout the Adelaide Hills and across regional South Australia for decades and I welcome this increased investment.”

Minister Speirs said landholders are encouraged to collaborate, where beneficial, on multi-property grants under the large grant categories.

The program will be delivered by the Nature Foundation in partnership with Trees for Life, Conservation Council, Livestock SA and Nature Conservation Society.

Nature Foundation Chief Executive Officer Hugo Hopton said this is an outstanding opportunity for South Australian primary producer and conservation landholders.

“It will provide expertise and resources for practical on-ground conservation work, which will improve the quality of their native vegetation and the financial sustainability of their properties. Good for farming, good for conservation,” Mr Hopton said.

Landholders who do not currently have a Heritage Agreement are encouraged to participate, by submitting a simple application to agree to protect important native vegetation and habitat on your land. To find out more visit: www.revitalisingconservationsa.org.au