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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
22 November 2004
Australians are being urged not to destroy what they came to enjoy this Coastcare Week, which runs from December 1-7.
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said with around 85 per cent of the population living on or near the coast people needed to think about how their ‘sea change' might be affecting fragile coastal ecosystems.
"We are more aware than ever of the need to create a balance between enjoying our unique natural resources and conserving them for future generations," he said.
"What is disturbing about the number of people living on the coast is that nearly a quarter live in areas where the population growth rate is 50 per cent higher than the national average.
"Coastal ecosystems are particularly sensitive to introduced change and are largely not equipped to cope with this unprecedented growth.
"The Australian Government is addressing the threats facing our coasts and supporting the many dedicated groups carrying out on-ground activities in their local area.
"Since 1996, $148.5 million in funding from the Australian Government's $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust has been invested in Coastcare facilitators, volunteers and community groups o protect coastal environments.
"Presently more than 2000 Coastcare groups around the country are working tirelessly to reverse the effects of sea change, repairing beaches, harbours, bays and estuaries.
"Volunteers have built more than 200 kilometres of fencing and 80 kilometres of paths to protect sensitive dune and headland vegetation, cleared 2000 hectares of weeds and planted more than 600,000 native plants."
Senator Campbell said that as part of the regional approach to tackling environmental issues, the Australian Government was working with state, territory and local governments, farmers, conservation groups, tertiary institutions and community groups to protect marine resources.
He said the Government was also protecting coastal and marine environments through its visionary Australia's Oceans Policy, the water quality-focused Coastal Catchments Initiative and a range of community-based projects.
"Coastcare Week presents an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate our unique coastal environments and to join the groundswell of dedicated Coastcare volunteers in building a more sustainable future for our grandchildren," he said.
Coastcare is a partnership between the Australian, state and local governments and is a theme of the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust. For more information about the trust visit www.nht.gov.au/index.html. To get involved with Coastcare call 1800 151 105.