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Joint Media Release


Senator Robert Hill
Federal Minister for Environment and Heritage
&
Dr Judy Edwards
WA Environment & Heritage Minister

2 August 2001

$2 MILLION INVESTMENT IN BUSH BANK

Areas of private land in Western Australia with significant environmental values will be protected in perpetuity thanks to $2 million in funding from the Federal and West Australian Governments.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill and West Australian Environment and Heritage Minister Dr Judy Edwards today announced joint funding of the Bush Bank program, to be managed by the National Trust of Australia (WA).

Senator Hill and Dr Edwards said the Bush Bank program would not only benefit the State's environment, but also stimulate philanthropic and real estate sector involvement in nature conservation on private land.

"The Federal Government is providing $1 million from the Natural Heritage Trust to fund Bush Bank; a revolving fund which provides a mechanism for the purchase, protection and on-selling of areas of land with significant wildlife and habitat conservation values," Senator Hill said.

"To ensure these areas are protected in perpetuity, land purchased by Bush Bank will have a conservation covenant placed on it and this land will then be resold to a purchaser who is aware of the conservation values involved and is prepared to manage the land accordingly.

"This initial funding of $2 million dollars is intended to kick-start Bush Bank so it can start to buy and sell land and, when successful, encourage philanthropic investment in the scheme.

"Investment in Bush Bank, which aims to be a commercially viable operation over time, will work for generations to come as suitable land is purchased and re-sold for its ongoing protection," he said.

Dr Edwards said the announcement of the Bush Bank scheme would help preserve Western Australia's unique environment and reflected the State Government's commitment to encouraging the management of remaining native vegetation.

"The establishment of Bush Bank is another step in the battle against salinity. Conserving vegetation, whether through public or private efforts, is recognised as a vital method of restricting the spread of this growing problem.

"A special, independent board, with powers delegated from the National Trust will run the bank - with property selections made according to a set of agreed conservation priorites."

"Once established, Bush Bank is anticipated to be self-sustaining, with donations of land and grants sought from the wider community and corporations."

"I congratulate the organisations involved in the establishment of Bush Bank - including the National Trust of Australia (WA), the Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management, the WA Landcare Trust and the World Wide Fund for Nature."

For examples of the criteria for land acquisition under Bush Bank see attachment.

2 August, 2001

Contacts:
Rachael Thompson (Senator Hill) 0417 265 289
John Carey (Dr Edwards) 9220 5050


Attachment

Criteria for Acquisition of Land under Bush Bank

Under this scheme, the National Trust of Australia (WA) will investigate the availability of and acquire land that meets one or more of the following selection criteria:

Commonwealth of Australia