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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

7 September 2003

Over $530,000 to Help Save our Threatened Species


Over 90 nationally threatened plants and animals and eight threatened ecological communities received added protection today with the announcement of over $530,000 in funding from the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said the funding for the Threatened Species Network Community Grants Program - a joint initiative of the Australian Government's $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust and Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Australia - would help conserve Australia's rich plant and animal life.

Dr Kemp said the Threatened Species Network Community Grants help community groups respond to the task of repairing our environment and protecting Australia's unique plants and animals.

"The 41 projects funded in this sixth round of the Threatened Species Network Community Grants will help to protect a wide range of species and ecological communities in rural and urban communities around Australia such as the Malleefowl in WA, Southern Bell Frogs in SA, the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby in NSW and Western (Basalt) Plains Grasslands in Victoria."

Dr Kemp announced the 2003 Community Grants at Melbourne Zoo today to mark National Threatened Species Day. This event is held annually on 7 September to mark the date the last Tasmanian Tiger died in captivity in 1936.

"So far these grants have provided over $2.5 million in funding for some 250 projects. This demonstrates the Howard Government's firm commitment to giving priority to supporting communities who are willing to give up their time for the sake of the environment," Dr Kemp said.

"In the last five years, more than 5700 volunteers have given more than 17,400 days worth of their time to Threatened Species Network projects across Australia. This is equivalent to half a century worth of work."

These latest projects will survey almost 400,000 hectares and improve the management of around 118,000 hectares of habitat. Improvements include fencing, revegetation, weed and feral pest control.

"Conservation activities will target over 100 species listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - the most comprehensive and powerful national environment legislation ever enacted in Australia," Dr Kemp said.

"For example, in Victoria, a project to protect Swift Parrots and White Box Woodlands around Euroa will receive $30,000 in funding from this round of grants.

"Most of these remnant woodlands still contain important foraging sites for a number of endangered species including the Swift Parrot, the Grey-crowned Babbler and the Squirrel Glider. These tiny stands of trees represent just three per cent of the original area. The project will protect and expand these important patches of land, many of which are on roadsides or in intensively farmed paddocks, by fencing revegetation.

"In addition, while targeting nationally listed species, these projects will also benefit 48 species that are threatened at a state level.

"The success of the program to date reflects the effective partnership that has been formed with WWF and I look forward to seeing the positive outcomes from the latest round of successful projects."

WWF Australia Chief Executive Officer, Dr David Butcher, said a major component in the success of the Threatened Species Network Community Grants was the contribution of local communities around Australia.

"The grants allow WWF to work on the frontline of community conservation with people whose passion and commitment is essential to the survival of our threatened species. The Australian Government's support of communities in conservation is crucial to the survival of Australia's unique animals, plants and ecosystems."

Attached are a Threatened Species Day Fact Sheet, and examples of projects from each state.
For a full list of projects visit: www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/information/ts-day/projects2003.html

To obtain a copy of the National Threatened Species Day information kit please contact free-call 1800 803 772 or for further information and species photos please visit: www.deh.gov.au/tsd.

Fact Sheet

Protecting Australia's Threatened Species

Australia is one of the most megadiverse countries on the planet. It is home to more than one million species of plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. About 85 per cent of flowering plants, 84 per cent of mammals, more than 45 per cent of birds, and 89 per cent of inshore, freshwater fish are endemic to Australia.

Changes to the landscape and native habitat as a result of human activity have put many of these unique species at risk. There are over 50 species of Australian animals and over 60 species of Australian plants that are extinct.

What is the Australian Government doing?

A range of management and conservation measures is in place to protect our threatened plants and animals. The Australian Government is working in partnership with state, territory and local governments, non-government organisations, tertiary institutions and community groups to ensure the protection of our native species.

One of these programs is the Threatened Species Network (TSN), a joint program of WWF Australia and the Australian Government's $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

What is the Threatened Species Network?

The TSN aims to increase public awareness of, and involvement with, the protection and recovery of threatened Australian species and their habitats. TSN supports communities to undertake species conservation through developing communication between interest groups, initiating and facilitating on-ground conservation projects, providing education and resources, and supplying funding through the TSN Community Grants.

Since 1999 TSN has provided over $2.5 million in funding for over 250 projects to assist community groups in the development of site-specific on-ground projects for threatened species conservation.

What is National Threatened Species Day?

National Threatened Species Day, held each year on 7 September, aims to encourage the community to prevent further extinctions of Australia's fauna and flora, and to restore healthy numbers of threatened species and ecological communities in the wild. This is a time when many Australians celebrate our unique and valuable biodiversity with activities to protect and conserve the environment.

National Threatened Species Day was first held in 1996, to commemorate the death of the last Tasmanian Tiger in captivity in 1936 in Hobart. The concept was developed by the Threatened Species Network, a community based program of the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust, as a way to showcase Australian threatened species.

By focusing attention on the plight of many of our threatened animals and plants, Threatened Species Day aims to encourage greater community support and hands-on involvement in the prevention of further losses of Australia's unique natural heritage.

What happens on the day?

A number of events are coordinated across Australia for National Threatened Species Day to raise community awareness about the plight of threatened species in Australia and to encourage community participation in conservation activities. Activities range from exhibitions and festivals, to displays, guided walks, workshops and a range of other community education and promotional activities.

The International Year of Freshwater

As part of the International Year of Freshwater, Threatened Species Day is focusing on inland waters. Through the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust, the Threatened Species Network is continuing to help protect, conserve and restore threatened inland species and their habitats.

Where can I get more information?

For more information on threatened species, go to the Department of the Environment and Heritage website at: www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened

For more information about the Threatened Species Network, go to www.wwf.org.au/tsn or contact freecall 1800 251 573

For more information about the International Year of Freshwater, go to www.freshwater2003.gov.au

For more information about National Threatened Species Day activities in your home state, there is a calendar of events and a free information kit available from the Department of the Environment and Heritage on toll-free 1800 803 772 or go to the website at: www.deh.gov.au/tsd.


Examples of Projects from each State


New South Wales Project Examples

Project Title: Increasing the uptake of de-hooking and line-cutting devices in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF)
Grant: $24,860
Proponent: Ocean Watch Australia LTD
Project Description:
The proponent of this project will use various types of de-hookers and line-cutters to demonstrate their use to fishermen and to increase the industry's awareness of their application. At least ten sets of devices will be provided to selected industry operators, and their experiences be monitored, recorded and extended throughout the fishery. The outcome of the project will be communicated to fishermen and an instruction video will be produced. This should result in a substantial reduction of by-catch fatalities of many species of threatened species including the Shy Albatross, Gibson's' Albatross, the Green Turtle, and the Loggerhead Turtle

Project Title: Outfoxing the Fox for the Bush Stone-Curlew
Grant: $30,000
Proponent: Weddin Landcare
Project Description:
This project involves a strategic Fox (Vulpes vulpes) baiting program covering 90,000 ha west of the Weddin Mountains. The area is a known habitat for the Bush Stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius), a ground-dwelling bird with gangly legs and distinctive wailing call, that is particularly vulnerable to Fox predation at present due to drought. This project will help to minimise Fox predation and ensure the survival of this threatened species by providing an incentive to bait and by demonstrating the effectiveness of a coordinated, broad-scale baiting program.

Northern Territory Project Examples

Project Title: Monitoring and Managing the Great Desert Skink at Nyirripi
Grant: $19,440
Proponent: Tangentyere Council Inc
Project Description:
In this project Aboriginal Elders, Community Rangers, local school children and a wildlife consultant will work together to establish a monitoring program for the Great Desert Skink (warrarna) in the Nyirripi region. This is a large burrowing lizard that lives in sandplain and gravely habitats in the western deserts region of central Australia. Distribution and abundance of this species will be examined in relation to the fire history of the area, which will be mapped using satellite imagery. Predator control will be conducted and predator diets analysed. Survey work and patch burning will be also conducted in a remote locality. Traditional knowledge about the species will be recorded.

Project Title: Protecting threatened species from foxes in the Tanami Desert
Grant: $23,640
Proponent: Central Land Council
Project Description:
In this project, Aboriginal Rangers and scientists will work together to control foxes (using 1080 baits) in an area of the Tanami Desert where remnant populations of a number of threatened species occur. Distribution and abundance of the Bilby, Mulgara, Great Desert Skink and Marsupial Mole will be monitored in baited and unbaited areas.

Queensland Project Examples

Project Title: Corridors for cassowaries in Julatten - Mt Molloy region
Grant: $5,210
Proponent: Jamarr Envirogroup
Project Description:
Riparian clearing causes Southern Cassowary (large, flightless birds, characterised by a bony ‘helmet' and blue and red skin around the neck and head) and Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo (short, stocky body with a long tail and a ‘black mask' over the front of their face) to lose habitat connectivity, inhibiting utilisation of forest fragments and exposing adults and dispersing young to attack, chiefly by dogs. Re-establishing corridors, chiefly along creeks, will counteract this problem, and success will encourage cooperation and emulation by additional landowners.

Project Title: MWF Habitat restoration Project for Endangered Granivorous Birds
Grant: $10,000
Proponent: Mareeba Wetland Foundation
Project Description:
This Grassland habitat restoration project for granivorous birds, such as the Black-throated Finch which is a typically dark plumaged bird with blue-grey head and a blue-white ear patch, and the Gouldian Finch with a bright green back, yellow belly and purple breast. The grassland includes two endangered species and one vulnerable species, and complements improved grassland management designed to reverse the effects of 100 years of grazing. It is linked to numerous other environmental programs, including a formal species recovery plan, tertiary institutions and other community groups.

South Australian Project Examples

Project Title: Protection of Regent Parrot nest colonies in the SAMDB
Grant: $6000
Proponent: The Friends of Parks Inc
Project Description:
The Nationally Vulnerable Regent Parrot (eastern subspecies) a large brightly coloured bird, generally found in small groups or pairs, has an important population located in the SA Murray-Darling Basin. The SA Murray-Darling Basin is a region of accelerating development, and known threats to taxa are ongoing. This project proposes to undertake a complete survey of the potential breeding range of the species (not previously undertaken) and to make recommendations for protecting and managing the nest colony sites.

Project Title: Recovery of nationally threatened plant species, Kangaroo Island, SA
Grant: $21,980
Proponent: Nature Conservation Society of South Australia Inc.
Project Description:
This project implements actions recommended under a Threatened Species Network funded draft recovery plan for 15 nationally threatened plants on Kangaroo Island, including Small Flowered Daisy-bush and Kangaroo Island Turpentine Bush, in three areas critical to plant recovery, Grazing management, Environmental weed management and Community awareness and involvement.

Tasmanian Project Examples

Project Title: Recovery of Threatened Forest Birds of King Island
Grant: $12,300
Proponent: King Island Natural Resource Management Group Inc
Project Description:
King Island has a high proportion of threatened and declining forest birds, especially those that depend on tree-hollows for nesting. The three listed endemic sub-species are the critically endangered Scrubtit, the endangered Brown Thornbill and the vulnerable Green Rosella. The Scrubtit lives in rainforest and wet eucalypt forest and is often difficult to see due to its secretive nature. It has a light cream coloured throat, breast and belly and a brown head. The Brown Thornbill is a small brown bird, with an olive-brown back and tail, and is buff grey underneath with black streaks near the chest and throat. The Green Rosella is a brightly coloured bird with a deep-yellow head and underparts, a red forehead-band and a blue throat-patch. This project will provide the King Island community Threatened Bird Network with the skills and techniques to monitor population size and protect critical habitat of threatened species.

Project Title: Protection of Basalt grassland remnant, Brighton, Tasmania
Grant: $5850
Proponent: Mr John and Mrs Diane Jordan
Project Description:
The project aims to protect a 3.6 ha basalt grassland remnant at Brighton in southern Tasmania that includes one nationally listed and ten other state listed threatened plant species. The land to be protected is part Crown land and part privately owned by the applicants. The applicants have agreed to give this block of land to the State Government, to be incorporated with the Crown land into a Nature Reserve. The applicants will occasionally graze their stock on proposed reserve to help maintain the grassland plants. Grant funds are to construct a fence between the proposed reserve and the applicants land to prevent uncontrolled access by stock.

Victorian Project Examples

Project Title: Protecting Swift Parrots and White Box Woodlands
Grant: $30,000
Proponent: Euroa Environment Group
Project Description:
This project will protect, enhance and expand remnant patches of Grassy White Box Woodland around Euroa to increase the viability of this endangered community. These actions will also increase the foraging value of these patches for the endangered Swift Parrot and help to conserve this species in the longer term. The Swift Parrot is bright green with patches of red, yellow and blue on its head and wings. It breeds in Tasmania and spends the winter in coastal NSW, Victoria and Southern Queensland.

Project Title: Earth Worm Rescue: rehabilitating the Strezlecki's
Grant: $29,110
Proponent: Powlett Catchment Landcare Group Inc.
Project Description:
Through the combination of a targeted landholder education and broader community involvement help deliver on-ground works in areas where there are known and suspected locations of the Giant Gippsland Earthworm. At over a metre long, this worm is one of the largest earthworms in the world, with a striking dark purple head and pinkish-grey body. This project will address the major physical and social causes of land and water degradation in the steep denuded upper, highly dissected, reaches of the Powlett area.

Western Australia Project Examples

Project Title: Biodiversity enhancement and protection within the Mundijong Rd Corridor
Grant: $10,500
Proponent: Roadside Care Volunteers Committee
Project Description:
The linear remnant on Mundijong Road Mundijong, on the Southern Swan Coastal Plains represents one of only two remaining transects of native vegetation that span the alluvial soils of the southern Swan Coastal Plain. It also contains two Critically Endangered threatened ecological communities and many significant flora. Being a long linear reserve, Mundijong Road is extremely threatened by weeds dieback, rubbish dumping and road maintenance. This project aims to empower a community conservation group the Roadside Care Volunteers to restore Mundijong Road Reserve through control of grassy and bulbous weeds re-establish native vegetation through seed collection and planting and control access to areas by fencing.

Project Title: Status of the Bilby (Macrotis lagotis) around the Edgar Range of the southern Kimberley
Grant: $29,700
Proponent: Jarlmadangah Burru Aboriginal Community
Project Description:
The Bilby is a medium-sized mammal found in WA's desert region. It has long rabbit-like ears and a long pointed snout. The project aims to identify areas where the Bilby (Macrotis lagotis) still occurs in and around the Edgar Range. The work will involve traditional owners undertaking tracking transects, mapping of active burrows and presence/absence of feral animals (foxes, cats, camels) and collating the baseline data. This action is a community management response to the frequent, hot, late-dry season wildfires that occur in and around the Edgar Range.

Commonwealth of Australia