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

27 April 2001

$790,000 to protect Australia's precious coral and seagrass

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill today announced $790,000 funding for new national moorings designed to protect Australia's sensitive marine areas.

"The Commonwealth Government is committed to protecting what is widely considered one of Australia's most spectacular yet sensitive natural resources - our coral and seagrasses," Senator Hill said during a visit to Cottesloe Beach in Perth.

"Damage from boat anchors is a serious environmental issue in popular marine and coastal areas. These new moorings, funded by the Natural Heritage Trust, will play a major role in the ongoing protection of these sensitive natural habitats."

Senator Hill said the National Moorings Program would involve the installation of moorings in Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales.

In Western Australia, eight marine areas will get 51 new environmentally friendly moorings.

The areas include the Cottesloe Reef area, Shark Bay Marine Park and 14 new moorings at Ningaloo Marine Park.

"The Cottesloe Reef System is one of a number of significant areas along the West Australian coast targeted under this program. Four new environmentally public mooring sites will be added to the area off the Perth metropolitan coastline to protect a diversity of marine communities, including weedy sea dragons, seagrasses, algal reefs and sponge gardens," Senator Hill said.

"This area is a popular recreational fishing and diving spot but anchor damage from boats poses a very real risk to the health of coral and seagrasses. This damage can kill coral, and years can pass before coral growth recovers. Some coral never returns to its original condition.

"The National Moorings Program is a fine example of how the Natural Heritage Trust is working to minimise negative impacts on our environment through the establishment of on-ground projects. This program will not only protect the biodiversity of a number of marine and coastal areas for the current generation, but for generations to come."

Friday, April 27, 2001

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

Commonwealth of Australia