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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
Senator Robert Hill
Federal Minister for Environment and Heritage
Hon Iain Evans
S.A.Minister for Environment and Heritage

Friday, 3 November 2000

SOUTH AUSTRALIA'S NEWEST NATIONAL PARK OPENED


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill and South Australia's Environment Minister Iain Evans today officially launched the state's first new national park in eight years.

The new Gawler Ranges National Park, purchased with Natural Heritage Trust and State funds, will protect arid woodlands, shrublands and hummock grasslands of the region for the first time.

"This new 120,000ha park will join the Flinders and Gammon Ranges in creating a stunning suite of arid national parks," said Senator Hill.

"The park joins the Flinders Ranges and Gammon Ranges national parks as a major tourist drawcard, creating great economic benefits from conservation.

"The Gawler Ranges' dramatic red volcanic hills and sweeping valleys contain 210 known plant species and 120 bird species. These include at least 21 rare and threatened species including the inland thorn-bill, thick-billed grass wren, yellow-footed rock wallaby, Penatty knob-tailed gecko, southern hairy-nosed wombat, pink cockatoo, malleefowl, crimson mallee and woody spinifex.

"These corridors ensure there is enough protected habitat to safeguard biodiversity and - in the case of the new park - assist migratory birds moving between the drier pastoral areas to the north and wetter, arable areas to the south."

The park, 350 kilometres north west of Adelaide, was created through a joint purchase of 120,000 hectares including one of South Australia's oldest pastoral sites, the Old Paney Station.

"The South Australian Government has made a sizeable investment in the establishment of this park which is a superb addition to the existing parks network as we build for the future," said Mr Evans.

"The creation of a national park will provide a focus for visitors to the region. Experience elsewhere in the State has shown that the development of a national park can provide great stimulus for increasing visitation to a region and hence the local economy.

"A Community Reference Group, comprising local representatives, has been formed so that National Parks and Wildlife SA can work with the local community in the management and planning for the park."

The Commonwealth contributed $822,000, the State Government contributed $911,000, and the Nature Foundation SA Inc. provided $50,000 for purchase and establishment. The park becomes part of the National Reserve System, a joint Commonwealth-state program of the $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust to protect a representative sample of all of Australia's ecosystems.

Media Contacts:
Senator Hill - Belinda Huppatz 0419 258 364
Minister Evans - Jon Parrington 0419 825 156

Commonwealth of Australia