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

7 September 2000

A HELPING HAND FOR AUSTRALIA'S UNIQUE WILDLIFE


Some of Australia's more unusual threatened species, from 'living rocks' to Pink-tailed Worm Lizards, are to receive added protection thanks to Federal Government funding of over $490,000.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill, speaking at this year's National Threatened Species Day launch in Sydney, said the funding for the Threatened Species Network (TSN) Community Grants Program will help conserve our precious wildlife.

In the 200 years since European occupation, Australia has lost around 87 plant species and 53 fauna species through extinction. National Threatened Species Day is held on 7 September each year, the day the last Tasmanian Tiger died in captivity in 1936.

"The TSN community grants are vital in the race to save our threatened species, as they not only assist in saving our unique flora and fauna but they reward community groups with the recognition they deserve," Senator Hill said.

"This year our grants winners received funding for a range of interesting projects including training volunteers to restore the habitat of an endangered community of Thrombolites at Lake Richmond in WA, one of the few places in the world where these 'living rocks' grow.

"Other projects include preventing livestock access into the remnant grassland habitat of the Endangered Striped Legless Lizard (Vic) and working with Indigenous communities to protect a population of the Mulgara, a small carnivorous marsupial found near Uluru.

"Two of the projects this round are particularly encouraging as they involve partnerships between land developers and urban communities.

"We hope that by continuing to provide funding we will encourage more community groups to participate in conservation activities at the regional level," he said.

The TSN Community Grants Program is a joint initiative of the Federal Government's $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust and the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Dr David Butcher CEO of WWF Australia said, "Australia has one of the most diverse ranges of species in the world. Yet many of our unique species are listed as vulnerable and some 1400 are currently at risk of extinction.

"The standard of applications for this year's grants was high. A number of projects have demonstrated innovative and multi-species approaches," Dr Butcher said.

"Projects in 2000-2001 will survey over 1 million hectares of habitat whilst focusing on habitat improvement via fencing, re-vegetation, weed control, predator control and closing of artificial watering points. 2.

"Other threatened species and communities funded under the program are the Ptunarra Brown Butterfly, the Cumberland Plains Woodlands, and many bird species, including the Superb Parrot, Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot.

"It is a great pleasure to be working with the Threatened Species Network and the World Wide Fund for Nature on threatened species conservation and I look forward to the continued success of this joint program," Senator Hill said.

"It is partnerships such as ours that provide the community with the opportunity to contribute to planning and on-ground activities for threatened species throughout Australia."

The grants program is further supported by the Federal Government's new Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

"Our new Act recognises the plight of threatened species and communities as a matter of national, environmental significance, and reaffirms the commitment of this government to the conservation of Australia's threatened species and communities," Senator Hill said.

For further information on National Threatened Species Day activities and events in each state contact the TSN on 1800 684 447 or Environment Australia on 1800 803 772 or visit the TSN website at www.nccnsw.org.au/members/tsn or the Environment Australia website at www.biodiversity.environment.gov.au


The full list of grant recipients is available in PDF format. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view it.

Contacts:
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill)   0419 258 364
Anne-Marie Delahunt (Environment Australia)   (02) 6274 2240 or 0412 446 136

Commonwealth of Australia