Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts logo
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts home page

Archived media releases and speeches

Disclaimer

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon. Dr David Kemp

31 May 2003

John Wamsley - Prime Minister's Environmentalist of the Year 2003


Wildlife crusader, Dr John Wamsley, is the Prime Minister's Environmentalist of the Year for 2003, Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, announced last night.

Dr Kemp praised Dr Wamsley's 30-year contribution to the conservation of Australia's unique wildlife when presenting the Award on behalf of the Prime Minister at the Banksia Environmental Foundation Awards dinner at Surfers Paradise.

"Dr Wamsley has campaigned tirelessly on behalf of our threatened species and has helped raise public awareness of the devastation caused by feral animals," Dr Kemp said.

"His network of wildlife sanctuaries helped bring some species back from the brink of extinction. Woylies, numbats, wombats, boodies, bilbies and Stick-nest rats are among the animals reintroduced to the sanctuaries.

"Dr Wamsley has challenged conventional wisdom and been uncompromising but passionate in his campaign to protect native species from introduced pests and predators.

"Governments have not always agreed with some of his ideas and his ventures have weathered financial difficulties, but the Howard Government recognises his lifelong determination to find solutions for protecting and conserving Australian wildlife. It is the combination of Dr Wamsley's determination, his passion and the difference he has made in conserving our precious native animals and plants that convinced the Prime Minister to select him for this prestigious award."

Dr Wamsley founded the company, Earth Sanctuaries, in the 1980s to extend and consolidate his network of sanctuaries fenced off from such pests and predators as cats, dogs, rabbits and foxes.

Since the hand over of Earth Sanctuaries to its long-time director, Proo Geddes, in 2000, Dr Wamsley has been developing methods to reintroduce native grasses to bushland and the management of woody weeds.

"I wish Dr Wamsley well in his endeavours as the Federal Government shares his commitment to attacking weeds and ferals throughout Australia by committing $28.5 million under the Natural Heritage Trust.

"Dr Wamsley sets an excellent example to other Australians that they can make a difference and play a part in protecting and conserving Australia's wildlife."

Dr Kemp congratulated all Banksia Award winners on making an outstanding contribution to a more sustainable Australia.

"The Government is proud to support the Banksia Environmental Foundation as it rewards those who rise to the challenge of finding a more environmentally sustainable future," he said.

The Prime Minister's Environmentalist of the Year award is sponsored by the Commonwealth's Department of Environment and Heritage each year. The 2002 Prime Minister's Environmentalist of the Year was NSW farmer, Bill Sloane. Bill and his wife Jacquetta epitomise best practice in natural resource management on their dryland property and provide regional leadership in sustainable farming.

The 2001 Prime Minister's Environmentalist of the Year was Professor Peter Cullen, former Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology (CRCFE). Professor Cullen continues to make a major contribution to the protection of water - our most precious resource.

Media Contact:
Nerida Crake (Spark Communications for Banksia Foundation) 0402 219 166
Catherine Job (Dr Kemp) 02 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Related Information

Minister Kemp, Dr John Wamsley (r) and Bill Sloane (l), the 2002 Prime Minister's Environmentalist of the Year

Minister Kemp, Dr John Wamsley (r) and Bill Sloane (l), the 2002 Prime Minister's Environmentalist of the Year

Commonwealth of Australia