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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

5 March 2002

Coastcare Sets Sail with the Flinders Voyage

Coastcare will be sailing the high seas with the tall ship Windeward Bound as it circumnavigates Australia commemorating the bicentennial of Matthew Flinders' legendary voyage and monitoring the marine environment.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage David Kemp said Coastcare, a program of the Commonwealth Government's $2.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust, was 'on board' with the Windeward Bound contributing $270 000 as a major sponsor of the voyage.

"Coastcare's sponsorship includes passage on the Windeward Bound for a leg of the journey - about two weeks - for seven young Australians who'll be working as crew," Dr Kemp said.

"As a part of a competition with The Australian newspaper, the seven young people described in 100 words problems facing the marine environment and suggested solutions.

"During the voyage the crew is undertaking a very different sort of survey than that done by Matthew Flinders 200 years ago. Sightings of whales, dolphins and other marine species are being recorded.

"Funding from the $15 million Coastcare program not only sponsors the Windeward Bound voyage but also provides expert advice on how to carry out the survey.

"A consistent reporting and recording regime will be used around the country to collect the data, ensuring the survey results are useful for scientists and marine conservation managers.

"The ship is also trialing a marine water quality monitoring system designed to measure pollution levels in the water.

"Thanks to Coastcare, the Windeward Bound is also protecting the marine environment by using non-toxic anti-fouling paint on its hull. The Government's Anti-fouling Program and Wattyl Paints provided the ship with the paint.

"All marine vessels use anti-fouling paint, but traditional paints can be harmful to some marine species.

"The Federal Government is working with the shipping industry on a range of measures to test less toxic alternatives to traditional anti-fouling paints. More than $600 000 from the Natural Heritage Trust is helping the shipping industry to test less toxic alternatives to anti-fouling paints and monitor the impact on the marine environment.

"We are looking forward to highlighting the work of thousands of dedicated Coastcare volunteers in Australia's coastal communities as the Windeward Bound visits their local ports over the next 18 months," Dr Kemp said.

The Windeward Bound's Captain Sarah Parry said the ship is sporting the Coastcare logo on its mainsail.

"We are very pleased to have formed a partnership with Coastcare and look forward to meeting so many of the country's Coastcare volunteers as we sail around Australia," Captain Parry said.

"Although he may not have considered himself as an environmentalist, Matthew Flinders was in fact the first to undertake a survey of Australia's coastal and marine environment. The Windeward Bound's crew will be comparing its observations of the coastline with Flinders' observations from 200 years ago.

"This information will be recorded on our web site so that Australians can follow our journey and learn more about Flinders and how the marine and coastal environment is changing.

"Our partnership with Coastcare reinforces the Windeward Bound's commitment to protecting the environment. The crew does its best to collect marine litter from the ocean and remote stretches of coastline, and a strict recycling regime is implemented on board," Captain Parry said.

The Windeward Bound sets sail from Sydney's Darling Harbour on 7 March 2002 and will return in July 2003. It is re-enacting Matthew Flinders voyage of 1802-03 when he embarked on an epic voyage to chart the largely unknown coastline of Australia. Flinders was the first to map the entire coastline of the continent and call it Australia.

Coastcare is a $15 million national program that supports community involvement in coastal management and protection. Coastcare focuses on practical actions and on-ground works that tackle the causes of environmental degradation. Federal, State and Local Governments provide support to the Coastcare program in a variety of ways. Building on its current successes, Coastcare is being expanded to include all of the Government's coastal and marine activities under the Natural Heritage Trust.

The are nearly 2000 Coastcare groups and approximately 60 000 individuals actively involved in Coastcare nationally.

Media Contacts:
Dr Kemp's office: Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Windeward Bound: Janet Glover (02) 9363 0714 or 0412 601 816

Commonwealth of Australia