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

10 October 2001

Launch of Birds Australia Newhaven Reserve

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has officially opened the Birds Australia Newhaven Reserve north west of Alice Springs.

Senator Hill said that acquisition of the property for conservation purposes was jointly funded by the Federal Government's National Reserve System Program, under the Natural Heritage Trust, and Birds Australia.

"The Birds Australia Newhaven Reserve provides an excellent example of governments working together with community groups to further national biodiversity conservation objectives," Senator Hill said.

Newhaven is 335 km north west of Alice Springs, just east of the Great Sandy Desert and adjoining Aboriginal Freehold land on all sides. The 262, 600 ha property is in outstanding condition.

Newhaven is scenically spectacular with the Siddeley and Yaripuangu Ranges outline on the northern skyline, Mt Gurner in the west and the 50km 2 of Lake Bennett in between. Spectacular red sand dunes fringe the clay plans.

The extensive salt lake system floods after significant rains to bring in thousands of waterbirds and migrant waders. A rich diversity of grasslands and woodlands provide homes to 34 species of threatened wildlife and plants.

Some of the nationally threatened species include the Mulgara, (small carnivore) Black Footed Rock-Wallaby, Northern Marsupial Mole, Grey Falcon, Princess Parrot, Night Parrot, Grey Honeyeater, Striated Grasswren, Mallee Copper Burr, and Desert Broombush. A total of 138 species have been recorded at Newhaven which makes the property a bird watchers haven.

Newhaven is the first conservation reserve in Australia where the nationally threatened Night Parrot is believed to occur.

Newhaven Reserve has the potential to become significant as conservation reserve both for tourism and for arid zone research. The Reserve will be open to the public in winter 2002.

Newhaven has special significant to Indigenous people and the management of the Reserve will provide Birds Australia with the exiting opportunity to closely work with the Traditional Owners to protect and enhance the Indigenous values of the property.

The Birds Australia manages four Bird Observatories in National Parks and Reserves for over 20 years. Two observatories are in WA, one in NSW and one in Victoria. Birds Australia raises the funds to contribute to the purchase of Newhaven through over 4,000 volunteers.

10 October 2001

Media contact:
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's Office) 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia