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Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2001-2004

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP



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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

7 June 2004

Funding to help protect NSW wetlands

Private landholders in New South Wales will be helped to protect internationally significant wetlands with information developed through $200,000 funding from the Australian Government's $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said the $203,213 funding would support the conservation of four privately owned Ramsar sites - the Gwydir Wetlands and Macquarie Marshes (northern NSW), Fivebough-Tuckerbil (Riverina region) and the Wetlands Centre component of the Hunter Estuary (Newcastle region).

"Our wetlands play a vital role in providing habitat for native species, absorbing pollutants and reducing the impact of floods. Their cultural significance also makes them unique. Private landholders with Ramsar sites on their land deserve the best possible data to help them manage their properties," Dr Kemp said.

"The funding announced today will be used to better identify the ecological character of our NSW Ramsar sites and will serve as the foundation for natural resource management planning and on-ground actions."

The newly established NSW Ramsar Managers' Network met recently to discuss the issues facing Ramsar-listed wetlands on private properties and a lack of water during the current drought and weed infestations were identified as major concerns.

Information developed through the Trust expenditure would be added to management plans developed for the sites.

"The updated management plans will provide landholders with a better understanding of the environmental flows needed to protect the wetlands," Dr Kemp said.

"Landholders will also be armed with more detail on weed infestations currently threatening some Ramsar sites on private land, so they can take action on invasive species such as Lippia, Alligator Weed and Hyacinth."

Dr Kemp said the project would help to raise the profile of Ramsar wetlands and the importance of working together to improve Australia's environmental health.

"Australia was one of the first nations to become a Contracting Party to the Ramsar Convention, and we currently have 64 wetlands of international importance listed, covering a total of approximately 7.3 million hectares," he said.

"The funding I've announced today will go towards improving the most important aspects of environmental conservation: better knowledge, and then better solutions.

"The more information we have about the ecological values of our Ramsar sites, the more success we will have in conserving them for future generations of Australians."

Commonwealth of Australia