Indicator: Ecoinvestment

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Summary of results

The most important and costly factor affecting investment in the environment in the ACT during the reporting period was the bushfires of January 2003. The fires wreaked havoc not only on the environment, but also on budgets for environmental management in the ACT. From January to June 2003, $200,000 was spent to restore fire-damaged riparian zones, $100,000 to repair the Murrumbidgee River Corridor, $600,000 to stabilise fire trails, and over $1 million to repair or replace fire-damaged fencing.

In addition, planned expenditure on government projects, peaked at $3 million in 2001–02, and various grants under the ACT Environment Grants Program, peaked at about $465,000 in 2001–02.

There has been no trend of decline in spending on ecoinvestment. Government investment continues to grow, and is both diversifying and focusing on more specific problem areas.

What the results tell us about the ACT

Preventing and repairing environmental problems never comes cheaply.

In terms of overall trends, there was no decline in ecoinvestment over the reporting period. Government investment continues to grow and the value of funds received from external sources, such as grants, is diversifying as well as being more targeted at problem areas (see tables, pages 2 and 3).

Costs of the January bushfires

During the reporting period the January 2003 bushfires wreaked havoc on budgets for environmental management in the ACT. From January to June 2003, the cost of repairs and maintenance included:

  • $200,000 directly allocated for bushfire affected riparian restoration
  • $100,000 for restoration of the Murrumbidgee, for a project officer to start restoring walking
  • trails, address soil conservation priorities and engage the community to rehabilitate the Murrumbidgee River Corridor
  • $600,000 for urgent soil stabilisation of fire trails, mostly in Namadgi National Park, but with some aimed directly at the Murrumbidgee River Corridor; some was also allocated for the benefit of the catchment (mostly the Cotter Catchment)
  • over $1 million on rural fencing, including approximately $100,000 used to repair or replace boundary fencing between rural leases and the Murrumbidgee River (approximately 20 kilometres).

Funding of other activities

Other, less unexpected expenditure over the reporting period related primarily to investment in land management issues, such as weeds, revegetation, and rehabilitation and protection of waterways.

Funding for these activities came from the ACT Government and from federal sources, such as the Natural Heritage Trust.

Investment is also made by landholders, businesses and by volunteers. No specific data is available for the reporting period on the value of this contribution. However, funding from sources such as the Natural Heritage Trust must at least be matched by the recipients of that funding. An evaluation of NHT Stage 1 projects indicates that in-kind and cash contributions from project proponents averages around four times the value of grant funds.

The regional delivery model for NHT Stage 2 acknowledges the importance of engaging the local community in natural resource management decisions about the cause and nature of problems as well as the solutions. The model also recognises the contribution, both financial and nonfinancial, that all stakeholders make to deliver natural resource management outcomes.

Funding sources in environmental management programs, 2000-01 to 2002–03

Table 1: ACT Government - Environment ACT
Program Year
2000–01 2001–02 2002–03
Output GPO Nature Conservation and Land Management $12,479,000 $12,800,000 $14,419,000

Table 2: ACT Government - Canberra Urban Parks and Places
Program Year
2000–01 2001–02 2002–03
Output Canberra Urban Parks $1,650,000 $2,050,000
ACT Govt – ACT Environment Grants Program $403,000 $465,000 $170,000

Table 3: Natural Heritage Trust
Program Year
2000–01 2001–02 2002–03
Stage 1 Programs $968,000 $952,000
Stage 2 Programs
Interim funding for coordinators $121,000
Envirofund $142,000
Envirofund Drought Recovery Round $27,000
Interim regional funding $600,000

Notes to Table 3

  • Coordinators – Arrangements for the Natural Heritage Trust changed from 2002–03. Interim funding was provided for coordinators and facilitators pending agreement to a new regional delivery model. The ACT signed a bilateral agreement with the Australian Government for delivery of Natural Heritage Trust Stage 2 on 26 March 2003. This identifies the Territory as a single region and acknowledges the special place of the ACT inside the larger Murrumbidgee River Catchment region. The bilateral agreement establishes the ACT NRM Board as the regional body responsible for preparing an ACT NRM Plan and Investment Strategy. These documents will guide investment in NRM in the Territory into the future. The Board comprises the members of the ACT NRM Advisory Committee plus three additional members representing catchment, Indigenous and rural landholder interests. The ACT NRM Plan was drafted during 2002–03 and released for public comment in September 2003. The Plan has been endorsed by the ACT NRM Board to go forward for accreditation by ACT and federal ministers. A concomitant Investment Strategy is also being prepared. This strategy is to represent ACT’s approach to implementing the ACT NRM Plan and reflect the nature of total investment in future years. Access to investment funding from the Australian Government is contingent on both documents being in place. This strategy is to be approved and endorsed in the same timeframe as the Plan itself.
  • Envirofund – Natural Heritage Trust Stage 2 established a local funding component, administered by the Australian Government called the Australian Government Envirofund.
  • Envirofund drought recovery round – An additional Australian Government Envirofund round was held in 2002–03 to address NRM issues affecting local communities as a result of the extended drought.
  • Interim funding under the new bilateral agreement was provided to the ACT in 2002–03. This comprised interim regional project funding and additional funding to respond to the ACT bushfires.
  • Interim regional funding – The total announced was $800,000, which includes funding in 2003–04 as well as 2002–03. A further $267,000 has been provided from regional Natural Heritage Trust funds to continue coordinator support in the ACT until the end of June 2004, pending an accredited investment strategy.
Table 4: ACT Government projects, 2000–01 to 2002–03
Investment Year
2000–01 2001–02 2002–03
Decade of Landcare (Capital Works Allocation) $125,000
Boboyan Pines Rehabilitation (Capital Works Allocation) $150,000 $150,000
Exotic Weed Control (Capital Works Allocation) $150,000 $150,000 $150,000
Sustainable Catchments Program $100,000
Nature Based Tourism Enhancement – Namadgi Vehicle Nodes and Lookouts $150,000
Nature Based Tourism Enhancement – Signage and Visitor Orientation $100,000
Gudgenby Conservation Works and Visitor Infrastructure $100,000
Recreational Facility Upgrade $100,000
Jerrabomberra Wetlands Renewal $15,000 $100,000
Cotter Precinct Design Study $15,000
Tidbinbilla Aviary Design Study $50,000
Heritage and Nature Trail Strategies $40,000
Weed Control Program (Government) $1,478,000 $1,420,000 $913,000
Weed Control Program (Community) $113,000 $41,000 $14,000
Water quality monitoring (Government)* $150,000 $132,000 $131,000
ACT Environment Grants (Community) $403,000 $465,000 $170,000
Totals $2,569,000 $3,028,000 $1,478,000

Data sources and references

Data were provided by Environment ACT, ACT Government.

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