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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 2001

COMMONWEALTH SUPPORT TO HELP SAVE NSW WILDLIFE


The threatened Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby and Squirrel Glider are among a number of species that stand a better chance of survival after the announcement today of Federal Government funding to NSW community groups.

Three community groups have received funding totalling $34,500 through the Threatened Species Network Community Grants Program to undertake action to help safeguard the future of some of NSW's threatened biodiversity.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said the funding complemented the more than 10,000 Natural Heritage Trust projects across the country that have Commonwealth Government support in protecting species through work such as feral animal control or habitat restoration.

Speaking at this year's National Threatened Species Day event in Brisbane, Senator Hill announced total funding of over $520,000 to 40 community groups across Australia through round four of the Grants.

"The Threatened Species Network Community Grants, a joint initiative of the Federal Government's $2.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust and the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), not only assist in saving our unique flora and fauna but also reward community groups with the recognition they deserve," Senator Hill said.

"Local communities in NSW play a vital role in helping to save Australia's unique and precious threatened species. NSW projects funded in this round will undertake on-ground activities including habitat restoration, weed eradication and feral animal control.

"With $18,000 funding, the Coonabarabran and Upper Castlereagh Catchment and Landcare Group will work on controlling foxes on up to 70 properties within an area surrounding a colony of the nationally Vulnerable Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby. The Group will create a fox-free buffer zone to ensure that this threatened population recovers. The project also extends and enhances the control program carried out in Warrumbungle National Park by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and promotes improved collaboration between landholders and managing bodies for Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby conservation."

WWF Australia Chief Executive Officer Dr David Butcher highlighted the importance of the Threatened Species Network Community Grants program in building community interest in conservation activities.

"Australia has one of the world's most megadiverse ecosystems, yet many of our native species are currently at risk of extinction," Dr Butcher said.

"The conservation work that is funded through this important partnership between WWF, community groups throughout Australia and the Federal government is a vital step toward creating awareness of Australia's unique environment by encouraging community participation in a range of projects and conservation initiatives that will help conserve native wildlife. Conserving threatened species and ecosystems has been the foundation of WWF's work internationally for 40 years and WWF is pleased to continue this relationship with NSW communities and the Natural Heritage Trust."

National Threatened Species Day is held on 7 September each year to commemorate the day that the last Tasmanian Tiger died in captivity in 1936. A list of NSW projects funded in 2001-02 is attached.

September 7, 2001

Contacts:
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill) (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
Rosslyn Beeby (WWF) (02) 9281 5515 or 0419 520 960


NEW SOUTH WALES THREATENED SPECIES NETWORK GRANT RECIPIENTS

For further information on any of the projects listed here or to get in contact with proponents, please contact the New South Wales Threatened Species Network coordinator:
Francesca Andreoni, WWF
Ph: (02) 9281 5515
Fax: (02) 9281 1060
Email: FAndreoni@wwf.org.au

Project Title: Friends of the Warrumbungle Brush-tailed Rock-Wallaby
Grant: $18,000
Proponent: Coonabarabran and Upper Castlereagh Catchment and Landcare Group Inc
Project Summary: This project will conduct fox control work over one year on up to 70 properties within an area surrounding a colony of the nationally Vulnerable Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby. The intention is to create a fox-free buffer zone to ensure that this threatened population recovers. This project extends and enhances fox control work carried out in Warrumbungle National Park by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. In addition, the project will establish better collaboration between landholders and management authorities for Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby conservation.

Project Title: Restoration of Habitat for an Endangered Population of Squirrel Gliders
Grant: $11,500
Proponent: Wagga Wagga Urban Landcare Group
Project Summary: The Squirrel Glider population at Wagga Wagga is being used as a model for conservation work on several nationally and State-listed threatened species in the region. In the short term, immediate habitat enhancement will fix the present habitat deficiencies. In the longer term, the development and implementation of management guidelines and a possible conservation agreement will ensure habitat protection for a range of species.

Project Title: Mt. Gibraltar Reserve Threat Abatement Project
Grant: $5000
Proponent: Mt. Gibraltar Reserve Threat Abatement Project
Project Summary: The project aims to protect the State-listed eucalypt forest-woodland ecological community in the Mount Gilbraltar Forest. The intention is to remove weeds over 1ha of the steeper slopes so as to promote natural regeneration at this site. There is also an opportunity to raise awareness about this site via brochures, media releases, talks and displays. The project activities would be the first recovery initiatives to be implemented from the recovery plan, due out next year.

Commonwealth of Australia