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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
6 September 2002
The Trout Cod, Swift Parrot, Striped Legless Lizard, Muellers Daisy and Grassy White Box Woodlands are among a number of nationally threatened species and ecological communities that stand a better chance of long-term survival after today's announcement of Commonwealth Government funding for Victorian community groups.
The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp today announced that eight Victorian community groups received a total of $144,084 through the Threatened Species Network Community Grants Program to help protect the State's rich biodiversity. In addition two groups received $27,300 for projects that cross State boundaries to protect threatened species in both Victoria and South Australia. Dr Kemp was represented by the Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone, at a special event at Melbourne Zoo today to announce the Grants.
"The Threatened Species Network Community Grants are a joint initiative of the Howard Government's $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust and the World Wide Fund For Nature which are designed to assist in the fight to save our unique plants and animals," Dr Kemp said.
"A total of 36 projects in urban and rural communities around Australia received funding of over $496,000 in the fifth round of the Threatened Species Network Community Grants. These projects will undertake conservation activities to benefit 51 plant and animal species and five ecological communities listed as nationally threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999," Dr Stone said.
Dr Kemp also said that these projects represent a community-level response to broader natural resource management issues and are a valuable way of capacity building for local communities and landholders throughout Victoria.
"For example, the Nagambie Landcare Group will use their grant of $28,800 to implement the Biodiversity Action Plan for the Victorian Riverina, work which will benefit 27 plant and animal species and five ecological communities many of which are listed as nationally threatened," Dr Kemp said.
"Using a landscape approach to threatened species conservation, the group will undertake on-ground activities such as surveying and mapping the distribution of threatened species and communities found in the area, weed and predator control and habitat protection and enhancement.
"The Wannon Conservation Society has received $4,236 to survey the distribution of the Striped Legless Lizard near Hamilton. Once found throughout temperate grasslands in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, this threatened reptile now largely exists in a very few small populations near Canberra and west of Melbourne. The Society will also provide advice to landholders to help manage populations found on private land.
"The work of these community groups complements the work of thousands of Natural Heritage Trust projects across the country that have Commonwealth Government support in protecting threatened species through on-ground activities such as feral animal control and habitat restoration," Dr Kemp said.
WWF Australia Chief Executive Officer Dr David Butcher said a significant component in the success of the Threatened Species Network Community Grants was the contribution of local communities around Australia.
"Community involvement in threatened species conservation is crucial to the survival of Australia's unique animals, plants and ecosystems. These grants are a vital step toward encouraging communities to step into the role of custodians of their local environment. The impact of community participation in conservation work cannot be underestimated," Dr Butcher said.
Today's announcement is particularly timely with tomorrow being National Threatened Species Day. This annual awareness-raising event is held on 7 September to commemorate the day that the last Tasmanian Tiger died in captivity in 1936.
A full list of Victorian projects funded through the Natural Heritage Trust Threatened Species Network Community Grants in 2002-03 is attached.
To obtain a copy of the National Threatened Species Day information kit please contact free-call 1800 803 772 or for further information please visit the Environment Australia web site at: www.ea.gov.au/tsd.
Devena Wahlstrom Dr Kemp's office (02) 6277 7640 or 0412 257 334
Rosslyn Beeby WWF (02) 9281 5515 or 0419 520 960