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

8 September 2000

$1.5 MILLION FOR COASTAL ACID SULFATE SOIL SOLUTIONS


The environmental impacts of coastal acid sulfate soils will be targeted with $1.5 million funding under Australia's Oceans Policy Coastal Acid Sulfate Soils Program (CASSP).

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said eight projects have been funded to demonstrate a range of options for the management of coastal acid sulfate soils.

"These projects demonstrate cutting-edge techniques available to best manage the problems posed by acid sulfate soils in coastal areas," Senator Hill said.

Potential acid sulfate soils occur naturally along most of Australia's coastline. Once drained or disturbed these soils react with oxygen in the air to produce sulfuric acid. This dissolves heavy metals into a highly toxic cocktail of chemicals that are carried in run-off water into creeks and estuaries. Acid sulfate soils can cause massive fish kills, corrode cement and steel structures and strip land of vegetation.

"The protection of Australia's coast is vital as it provides habitat essential for Australia's unique biodiversity, nurseries for commercial fish species and resting habitat for migratory birds," Senator Hill said.

"Our coastal land is also prized for agriculture and residential and tourist developments, which have led to the disturbance of acid sulfate soils. These projects will reduce the environmental, social and economic costs of such disturbances by demonstrating more appropriate on-ground management techniques.

"While the majority of these projects are located along Australia's eastern coastline, it is hoped that increasing awareness of this important issue will attract more proposals from other states for the second round of CASSP funding."

Senator Hill said the collaboration of a diverse range of stakeholders encourages on-going partnerships and is fundamental to the adoption of effective acid sulfate soil management by the entire coastal community.

"Each project will be delivered by a consortium of stakeholders. These stakeholders include farmers, fishers, Local and State Governments, scientific and academic institutions, industry and environmental organisations."

The CASSP complements the newly released National Strategy for the Management of Coastal Acid Sulfate Soils which outlines clear environmental, economic and social, outcomes to be achieved through the management of these soils and the roles and responsibilities of government, industry and the community.

Funding of $3.5 million from the Natural Heritage Trust has been allocated for CASSP projects over two years.

The Project summaries are available in PDF format. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view it.

8 September 2000

Media Contact:
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's office) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
Robyn Bromley 6274 1906 or 0419 273 978

Commonwealth of Australia