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

2 February 2001

HILL CELEBRATES WORLD WETLANDS DAY AT BANROCK STATION


Australia's standing at the international forefront of wetland conservation has been confirmed with the announcement of three new Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said the listing of the new sites, as well as extensions to four existing sites, is particularly timely today on World Wetlands Day 2001, the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention.

"Thanks to the listing of three new wetlands in Western Australia, Australia now has 56 sites designated on the list of Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention," Senator Hill said.

"The Ramsar Convention represents one of the world's first global environmental treaties, a Convention to protect wetland ecosystems. By listing sites under the Ramsar Convention, we promote recognition and greater awareness of our most important wetlands.

"I therefore welcome the launch today of the latest edition of A Directory of Important Wetlands, which provides an overview of nationally important wetlands in each State," he said.

Since 1989, the Federal Government has invested around $2 million in a project with the States and Territories to identify Australia's nationally important wetlands for inclusion in the Directory.

"South Australia has made a valuable contribution to wetland protection. For example, the Banrock Swamp Wetland complex is listed in the Directory and the work of the Banrock Station Wine and Wetland Centre is an excellent case study of corporate leadership and commitment to wetland conservation.

"Proceeds from every Banrock Station bottle or cask sold in Australia are donated to Wetland Care Australia and Landcare Australia for conservation works around the country.

"A range of rehabilitation works are being undertaken on site at the Banrock Swamp wetland complex, including the installation of carp barriers and a massive revegetation program, the results of which are already becoming apparent.

"I am pleased that the Federal Government has been able to contribute $256,000 over three years from the Natural Heritage Trust to the Living Wetlands Project to support the national wetland conservation partnership between Wetland Care Australia and corporate sponsors, of which Banrock Station is the inaugural corporate sponsor.

"The work being done at Banrock Station sends out a clear message and challenge to other industries to consider the benefits of partnerships with community and government to protect our precious natural wetland heritage," Senator Hill said.

For more information on what is happening throughout Australia on World Wetlands Day, and to see the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia, please check Environment Australia's web site at: www.environment.gov.au/water/wetlands.

2 February 2001

Media enquires:
Senator Hill's Office - Belinda Huppatz (08) 8237 7920 or 0419 258 364
Environment Australia - Alison Russell-French (02) 6274 1090

Commonwealth of Australia