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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

6 September 2002

Over $100,000 to Help Protect WA's Threatened Species


One of Australia’s most endangered mammals, the Gilbert’s Potoroo and one of our most endangered reptiles, the Western Swamp Tortoise, are among a number of nationally threatened species that stand a better chance of long-term survival after today’s announcement of funding from the Commonwealth Government for West Australian community groups.

The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, announced that eight West Australian community groups received a total of $103,894 through the Natural Heritage Trust Threatened Species Network Community Grants Program to help protect the State’s rich biodiversity. 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 that 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 Western Australia.

“For example, the Denmark Environment Centre is working in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Land Management and the Gilbert’s Potoroo Action Group to protect Australia’s most endangered mammal,” Dr Kemp said.

“The Gilbert’s Potoroo was presumed extinct until it was rediscovered in 1994 and today there is one known population; at Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve. Thanks to a $25,860 Threatened Species Network Community Grant, this group will undertake an extensive survey of probable habitats between Albany and Augusta, in a bid to find additional populations or identify sites for the relocation of individuals to establish a separate breeding colony.

“The Ellen Brook Integrated Catchment Group will use their $10,900 grant to rehabilitate the Ellenbrook and Twin Swamps Nature Reserves, the only two areas of the world where the Western Swamp Tortoise is known to occur. The on-ground work will include seed collection, weed eradication, maintenance of firebreaks and the construction of vermin proof enclosures.

“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 Western Australian 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.

Media contacts:
Devena Wahlstrom Dr Kemp's office (02) 6277 7640 or 0412 257 334
Rosslyn Beeby WWF (02) 9281 5515 or 0419 520 960

Related Information

Commonwealth of Australia