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Natural Heritage Trust

Joint Statement by
The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Robert Hill, and
The Acting Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Wilson Tuckey

23 October 2000


Community groups throughout Tasmania will benefit significantly from additional funding from the Federal Government's $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

Federal Environment Minister, Robert Hill, and Acting Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister, Wilson Tuckey said they had approved $16.93 million for 188 projects in Tasmania for 2000-2001.

The Trust's initial funding is just the first step in the process, generating an enormous amount of in-kind support throughout communities.

"This is the fourth year the Trust has funded community groups for on-ground works with the dual goals of sustainable agriculture and conservation of Australia's unique biological diversity," the Ministers said.

"Success of the Natural Heritage Trust depends heavily on strong community involvement in identifying local environmental and natural resource management problems, developing local solutions and getting on with the job with a minimum of government interference.

"We are delighted with the commitment that local communities are demonstrating through Trust-funded projects already being undertaken, and with the number of new applications. This clearly demonstrates the success of the Government's approach in helping communities to address their local issues."

The Ministers said the quality and number of community applications for Trust funding was a massive endorsement of the Trust and built on the results achieved in the first three years.

These achievements in Tasmania included the planting of more than 68,000 seedlings, better weed management on more than 10,000 hectares of land and erecting 467km of protective fencing.

These works have contributed to the protection and enhancement of a range of threatened flora and fauna including the Spotted Handfish, with a successful captive breeding program releasing 156 juveniles into the Derwent River, and the only known population of Stuart's Heath being successfully protected from its main threats, disease and fire.

"Many community groups have reapplied for further funding and have provided excellent models for new groups committed to working for a better environment," the Ministers said.

Further information: Graeme Hallett 0419 688 440 or 02 6277 7270

Commonwealth of Australia