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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

10 April 2003

$1 Million for Private Land Conservation in New South Wales

Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today announced $1 million in Natural Heritage Trust funding to provide permanent protection for NSW properties of high conservation value under the Nature Conservation Trust of New South Wales.

Dr Kemp said the funding - matched with $1 million from the NSW Government - will go to the Nature Conservation Trust's Revolving Funds to buy, protect and resell land that contains significant wildlife and habitat.

"The Nature Conservation Trust will use the money to buy land of high conservation value, place a ‘conservation covenant' on the title, and then resell the property to a landholder committed to its long-term conservation and protection," Dr Kemp said.

"When buying land, the Trust must take into account presence of wildlife and habitat, especially nationally endangered or threatened plants and animals, ecologically significant wetlands, and areas of significant biodiversity."

A conservation covenant is a voluntary agreement between a landowner and an authorised covenanting organisation, which can be a government or private conservation organisation. The covenant can be registered on all or part of the land and is binding on successive owners.

"The conservation covenant provides permanent protection for native plants and animals on the property. This involves developing plans and activities such as fencing off sensitive areas from livestock, controlling weeds and animal pests, fire management and stocking rates," Dr Kemp said.

"By buying the land, placing a conservation covenant on it and then reselling it, the funding 'evolves' back to the NSW Nature Conservation Trust which then buys more properties of high conservation value.

"This initiative will contribute to the national effort by Governments, environmental and community organisations to protect Australia's rich biodiversity and native animal and plant species, many which are under threat. It also complements the National Reserve System which now protects nearly nine million hectares of land that is home to a wide range of Australia's flora and fauna.

"But given that two thirds of Australia's land is privately owned or managed, it is becoming increasingly obvious that we need to focus on conserving nature on private land if we are to make serious inroads in protecting our unique flora and fauna."

Dr Kemp said today's announcement is part of the $5 million allocated under the first phase of the Natural Heritage Trust for revolving funds Australia-wide. NSW joins South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia in buying properties of high conservation value through the Revolving Fund program.

Media Contact:
Catherine Job (Dr Kemp's office) 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia