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

12 April 2001

NEW PLAN TO PROTECT SYDNEY'S COASTAL WETLANDS


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill today launched an innovative new plan designed by 16 of Sydney's local councils to specifically protect Sydney's wetlands.

"This plan, developed by the Sydney Coastal Councils Group, means the city's 300 wetlands have now been mapped for the first time," Senator Hill said.

"It also means that, for the first time, there is a consistent planning document which can be adopted by all Sydney metropolitan councils to provide legal protection for the city's wetlands."

Senator Hill launched the plan, which received $36,000 from the Federal Government's Natural Heritage Trust, at an event today with Patron Senator for Kingsford-Smith, Senator Bill Heffernan.

"This plan is a tremendous achievement in bringing together a diverse mix of competing interests to ensure that wetlands and coastal lagoon vegetation in urban areas are protected and enhanced," Senator Hill said.

Councils from Pittwater to Sutherland have worked together to develop the plan, Protecting Wetlands in the Sydney Region, which will help ensure threats to Sydney's remaining wetlands, such as stormwater run-off, weeds, 4WD's and trail bikes, are properly managed by local councils.

"This valuable tool can be applied to any wetland or body of water, and could eventually be adopted throughout Australia," Senator Hill said.

"The plan covers about 300 wetlands including a RAMSAR site. The Sydney Coastal Council's Group has already committed to adopting the plan for about 90 wetlands.

"Other councils covering a further 210 wetlands in the Sydney metropolitan area have also indicated support for adopting the plan.

"A key Federal Government commitment under its National Action Plan for Australia's Wetlands has been met by helping to create a planning partnership between governments, the community, industry and conservation groups.

"This latest project brings a total of $12,376,966 Trust funding committed to clean seas, coastal monitoring and marine species protection in NSW."

The Coastal and Marine Planning Program is funded under the Trust's $141 million Coasts and Clean Seas initiative aimed at supporting the conservation, sustainable use and repair of Australia's coastal and marine environments.

According to Senator Heffernan, a key factor of Coast and Clean Seas is the active participation of local communities and the ability for these communities to manage their own natural resources.

"The Federal Government is supporting on-ground activity which has direct benefit to coastal communities," Senator Heffernan said.

For further information on the Coasts and Clean Seas initiative contact Environment Australia's Community Information Unit on toll-free 1800 803 772 or visit the website at www.environment.gov.au/marine/coast_clean_seas/

12 April 2001

Media contact:
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's Office): (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
Peita Luck (Senator Heffernan's Office): (02) 9367 2600 or 0409 129 137

Commonwealth of Australia