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Swan River Catchment looks to industry

THE Swan River Catchment Council has recently been awarded $12 million of funding over three years from the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT), but with a conservation area from Bindoon to Rockingham to cover, the council is actively seeking further support from local industry. The council has developed corporate partnerships with companies including Alcoa, agriculture fertiliser specialist CSBP and mineral sands miner TiWest. Despite these, the council is seeking to establish further links with Western Australian-based companies, according to council chairperson Sue Metcalf. “The idea is that we use NHT funding as a seed fund for additional support,” Mrs Metcalf said. The council will be targeting a number of sectors to engage in partnerships, with the banking industry one that interests the council. “There are enormous benefits to be gained for local companies,” she said. Mrs Metcalf said for companies involved in agricultural commodities, it was particularly important to demonstrate how they were helping the environment. Conservation of wetlands and drain rehabilitation are two areas the council intends to invest in. A number of community and government organisations are represented on the council, including Conservation and Land Management, the Water Corporation and the Swan River Trust. In addition to these groups there are sub-regional community representatives on the council, together with Indigenous and local government councillors. It has also recently broadened its membership base to encompass greater community involvement. The council was originally formed as a representative body for integrated catchment management in 1995. Agriculture Minister Kim Chance has also announced the appointment of consultant Stuart Hicks to ensure natural resource management groups such as the Swan River Catchment Council receive appropriately qualified support to deliver the high level of financial reporting obligations from both federal and state governments. “Across WA, six regional NRM groups between them will ultimately be administering the expenditure of up to $400 million of public funds,” Mr Chance said. $5.6m research grant for Murdoch MURDOCH University has received a $5.6 million grant for research into viruses, including HIV and hepatitis C. The funding has been made available by the Federal Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council. The university’s Centre for Clinical Immunology and Biomedical Statistics, which will use the funds, aims to provide the knowledge and tools for doctors to care for people with the viruses in a safer, more effective way. Umbrellas for youth UMBRELLA Month, a fund-raising event for Youth Focus, runs until August 6. Youth Focus umbrellas will be on sale throughout the month for $15 from SupaValu and Action supermarkets, as well as from Bankwest Tower. All proceeds from the sale of the Umbrellas support Youth Focus. Youth Focus is a Western Australian, non-government community-based organisation working with young people 12 to 18 years of age who are showing early signs of depression, suicide and deliberate self-harm, and works with more than 300 young people and their families each year. Sandover Pinder exchange sponsorship ARCHITECTURE student Robyn Creagh is currently travelling in Europe as part of a work exchange program sponsored by Subiaco-based architecture firm Sandover Pinder. Ms Creagh, a 23-year-old Curtin University student from Fremantle, said she could not have accepted the unique opportunity to work and study in Europe without corporate support.

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