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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
&
SA Minister for Environment and Conservation
The Hon John Hill

05 June 2002

$1.4 Million Investment in Bushbank SA


Areas of remnant bushland and habitats for threatened plants and animals located on private land in South Australia will be permanently protected thanks to $1.4 million funding from the Howard Government's Natural Heritage Trust and the South Australian Government.

The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and the South Australian Minister for Environment and Conservation, John Hill, today announced joint funding to set up BushBank SA, to be managed by the Nature Foundation SA.

Ministers Kemp and Hill said funds from BushBank SA will be used to acquire, protect and on-sell land in South Australia with significant wildlife and habitat conservation values. This will include ecosystems that are not well protected on public land.

"The types of environments that may be protected through BushBank SA include mallee and heath vegetation and areas of bushland which have remained uncleared because they were often considered to be unproductive marginal lands. Species that depend on these types of environments include the malleefowl and the southern emu-wren, both of which are listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999," Dr Kemp said.

"In many parts of South Australia habitat destruction has left a landscape of patchy fragments of native vegetation.

"These remnants, and the plants and animals that dwell in them, are under continuing threat from factors such as vegetation clearance, feral animals and degraded water systems. We need to protect these habitats to prevent any further declines in biodiversity.

"The Commonwealth and South Australian Governments are providing $700,000 of matching funds towards BushBank SA to ensure that these areas are protected in perpetuity.

"Land purchased by BushBank SA will have a Nature Foundation Heritage Agreement placed on it and this land will then be resold to a purchaser who is aware of the conservation values involved and is prepared to manage the land accordingly. In this way the fund 'revolves' and the value of BushBank is largely retained."

Minister Hill said the announcement reflects the State Government's commitment to encouraging the preservation of South Australia's unique environment.

"BushBank SA builds on Australia's longest running covenanting scheme which holds more than 1200 Heritage Agreements, covering over half a million hectares of South Australian properties," Mr Hill said.

"These agreements protect a number of significant species such as the large-club spider-orchid. This initiative will enable species not conserved by other means to be given a chance for the future.

"In addition to the biodiversity benefits of BushBank SA, landholders may add to the value of their properties by protecting their land in perpetuity. In some cases, farms with bushland are commanding a higher price than properties that have been fully cleared.

"An independent board, will manage the bank - with property selections made according to a set of agreed conservation priorities and in accordance to an approved business plan.

"Once established, BushBank SA is anticipated to be self-sustaining, with donations of land and grants sought from the wider community and corporations."

For examples of the criteria for land acquisition under BushBank SA see below.

Contacts:
Catherine Job Dr Kemp's office (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Nick Talbot Minister Hill's office (08) 8463 3463 or 0422 004 434


Criteria for Acquisition of Land Under Bushbank SA

Under this scheme, the Nature Foundation SA will investigate the availability of and acquire land that meets one or more of the following selection criteria:

In addition, part of the criteria for selecting new owners for a property bought under this scheme will be their commitment to conservation.

İ Commonwealth of Australia