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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
22 December 2000
Damage caused by acid sulfate soils on Australia’s coasts is being addressed with the release of up to $2 million for projects under the Natural Heritage Trust, Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill announced today.
The funding is from the Commonwealth’s Coastal Acid Sulfate Soils Program (CASSP), part of $50 million allocated under Australia’s Oceans Policy.
“Acid sulfate soils are a major yet under-recognised problem for about 40,000 square kilometres of Australia’s coastal zone, in every state and the Northern Territory,” Senator Hill said.
“Water flowing from acid sulfate soils can kill fish and oysters over a large area.
“Australia is probably the first country in the world to address the problem through a national strategy where the Commonwealth funds projects that demonstrate techniques to manage acid drainage from these soils.
“Up to $250 000 is available on a cost-share basis for each on-ground demonstration project .”
Potential acid sulfate soils occur naturally along the coastlines – they contain iron sulfides that produce sulfuric acid when exposed to the air. These soils exist in low-lying areas near the coast. Water discharged from acid sulfate soils contain toxic concentrations of sulfuric acid, dissolved aluminium and iron that can cause substantial environmental damage, reducing inshore water quality and impacting on the livelihood of downstream users, such as oyster growers and the fishing industry.
“We need applications for funding from around Australia for projects that demonstrate techniques to improve the management of acid sulfate soils in a variety of environmental conditions and localities," Senator Hill said.
In the first round of funding completed in September, eight projects received a total of $1.5 million.
Copies of the Coastal Acid Sulfate Soils Program Second Round Guide to Project Applications are available from Environment Australia’s Community Information Unit on toll free 1800 803 772 or at http://www.environment.gov.au/marine/cassp/main.html
Applications close 2 April 2001.
December 22, 2000
Contact: Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill) 08 82377920 or 0419 258 364