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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 November 2001

World Heritage Funding for Fossil Sites

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill announced today Commonwealth funding of more than $410,000 for Australia's world heritage listed fossil sites at Riversleigh (Qld) and Naracoorte (SA).

Senator Hill said the funding, from the Natural Heritage Trust, would boost research efforts, improve visitor facilities and enhance on-ground protection and surveillance at the internationally significant fossil sites.

"Commonwealth funding is directed toward projects that enhance the protection, conservation and presentation of world heritage values," Senator Hill said.

"At Riversleigh, Commonwealth funding will assist scientific research and improve the quality of on-site interpretation.

"The Commonwealth is also helping to increase the level of on-ground surveillance and monitoring, including by aircraft, at this remote location. This will build on previous initiatives designed to prevent unauthorised removal of valuable fossils."

Riversleigh funding will also facilitate increased involvement of the traditional owners in management of the site.

Senator Hill said he was pleased to announce nearly $200,000 for Naracoorte Caves Fossil Site in South Australia.

"Commonwealth world heritage funding for Naracoorte will ensure continued research on the important values of this site as well as improving visitor facilities and rehabilitating damaged areas."

The Commonwealth is providing more than $70 million toward world heritage management in 2001-2002.

November 7, 2001

Media Contact:
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's office) 0419 258 364

2001-02 Natural Heritage Trust - World Heritage Management
Approved Projects Australian Fossil Mammal Sites

Project Objective Commonwealth
Palaeontologist This project provides for scientific research into fossils retrieved from rock Hiatus A Site. The research will provide interpretation of World Heritage significance of deposits communicated to the public, researchers and other authorities. It will involve the scientific community in management and planning and provide relevant training and scientific knowledge to local people involved in on site interpretation. $68 000
Aboriginal consultation and involvement This project will facilitate Indigenous involvement in joint management through regular meetings of the Waanyi Advisory Council. The project will assist in ensuring that protection measures integrate Indigenous views and knowledge. $40 000
Cultural ranger This project will ensure Traditional Owner involvement in management duties and will assist in presenting and communicating World Heritage values to Indigenous communities and other stakeholders. It will also assist in ensuring that Indigenous cultural values within the World Heritage area are represented, monitored, managed and protected. $75 000
Addressing threats to World Heritage values Building on previous initiatives, this project will provide for an increased level of on-ground surveillance (vehicle hire, etc) to prevent unauthorised removal of fossils and other activities that may damage the site. The project will also provide for the periodic monitoring of the Riversleigh area by aircraft. $37 000
Total Riversleigh   $220,000
Research support Funding for this project will provide support for a range of key research areas outlined in the 2002/03 research program. The project will investigate climate change based on speleothem analysis, provide for comparative dating of Wet Cave and Fossil Cave fauna, develop reliable fossil dating methodology, establish 2 scholarships each year for 2 years to progress key research and develop the use of the site as an educational and research facility. $90 000
Site presentation - bat cave This project will facilitate interpretative opportunities for visitors by discrete recording of activity in the maternity chamber. It will significantly enhance scientific monitoring of activity in the chamber, including progress with development in the breeding/maternity cycle. $17 500
Restoration of Damage Areas in Victoria Fossil Cave This project will provide for the rehabilitation or repair of damage to buried speleothems and possible fossil bearing deposits (resulting from earlier access improvement works in Victoria Cave). The project will also enhance presentation and public safety through additional lighting in the Cave. $30,000
Provide facilities for Day Use Visitors This project will increase and improve visitors' day use facilities by converting a redundant staff area into visitors' toilets. The project is necessary to meet the significant increase in visitation to the site over the last 5 years. $56 000
Total Naracoorte   $193,500
Total AFMS   $413,500
Commonwealth of Australia