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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

25 January 2000

ADELAIDE TEAM LEADS HUNT FOR EUCALYPT KILLER


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill today announced that Adelaide University had been selected to conduct vital research to help combat the mysterious native plant killer "Mundulla Yellows".

Funded under the Natural Heritage Trust's Bushcare Program, the research project will receive $150,000 to determine the cause and identify a cure for the mystery disease.

First identified in South Australia 20 years ago, Mundulla Yellows is a condition affecting native vegetation around southern Australia. If a cure is not found it could threaten a wide range of native flora species, including banksia, eucalypt and tea tree species," Senator Hill said.

"A team of researchers led by Associate Professor John Randles from the University of Adelaide's Waite Institute will undertake the research. It's primary objective is to identify the cause and to develop a diagnostic procedure.

"The research team will also record the impact and spread of the disease in remnant vegetation and revegetation sites and study the disease cycle. This information will be crucial to the development of future control strategies.

"The project is scheduled to run to June 2001, but researchers are optimistic that significant progress will be made towards determining a causal agent within the next six months.

"On top of the Trust's $150,000 the Federal Government will also provide $40,000 through the Joint Venture Agroforestry Program for a complementary project to survey the incidence of Mundulla Yellows in farm forestry native species," Senator Hill said.

The Joint Venture Agroforestry Program is a collaborative research program funded by the Rural Industries, Land and Water Resources and Forest and Wood Products Research and Develop Corporations.

Media Contacts:
Rod Bruem (Senator Hill) (02) 6277 7640 or 0411 128 582
Ms Alex Rankin (Environment Australia) (02) 6274 2501

Commonwealth of Australia