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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
19 August 2001
EMBARGOED UNTIL 12.30pm Sunday, 19 August
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has made the final link in Project Hindmarsh by planting the last tree in a wildlife corridor between the Big and Little Desert National Parks in Victoria.
Senator Hill said the Natural Heritage Trust-funded Project Hindmarsh is an excellent example of the significant environmental outcomes that can be achieved when Governments, industry and community groups cooperate and pool their resources.
"Project Hindmarsh is a large-scale strategic project, which has received over $640,000 from the Natural Heritage Trust to rehabilitate remnant vegetation to complete effective north-south links between the Big and Little Desert National Parks," Senator Hill said.
"The Big and Little Desert National Parks contain nationally significant ecosystems and species, including the Malleefowl. The corridors created by this project are expected to be important in helping to conserve some of these species as well as those surviving in the fragmented remnants scattered across the 100 kilometre gap between the parks.
"One of the strengths of the project is the outstanding level of community involvement. It draws several hundred people to its annual planting weekend, most of who make the 350km trek from Melbourne.
"It is great to see so many groups working cooperatively together to achieve such a strategically important outcome. The Hindmarsh Landcare Network includes 14 landcare and community groups and includes some of the earliest such groups formed in Victoria.
"The corridors being established are primarily along strategic roadsides in the Wimmera region. While long stretches of valuable roadside vegetation were present before the project commenced, the plantings and direct seeding will eventually lead to the bridging of the many extensive gaps and the enhancement of degraded areas of remnant vegetation.
"While today's "Planting the last tree" ceremony will complete stage one of the project, this is an ongoing project and the next task of incorporating native vegetation into the treeless agricultural landscape remains ahead.
"The second stage of Project Hindmarsh begins this task and will enhance the corridor with secondary corridors to isolated remnants, revegetation along the corridors and in-paddock revegetation which will also help protect the fragile cropping soils."
Senator Hill congratulated the Shire of Hindmarsh on its key role in initiating the project, and other parties for their role in making the project such a success, including Greening Australia and regional Ace Radio, which helped sponsor the volunteers from Melbourne.
19 August 2001
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill) 0419 258 364
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