The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
24 February 2004
The joint chairs of the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council have today released a paper for a six-week public comment period on the direction of Australia's National Reserve System.
The Council comprises of all Australia's agriculture and environment ministers, including Council chairs - Australia Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and Australian Government Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss.
Dr Kemp said the draft paper outlines a partnership approach for achieving a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system.
"This means that it is the shared objective of all Australia's Governments to conserve a sample of every type of ecosystem, from tropical rainforest to alpine woodlands, in protected areas such as national parks," Dr Kemp said.
"At the moment, Australia's protected area system covers just over 10 percent of the country. However, the Australian landscape is made up of hundreds of types of ecosystems with very different characteristics and many have no, or very low levels of protection.
"We want to make sure that at least a portion of each type of ecosystem, with its unique plants and animals, are safe from being lost to the world forever."
Mr Truss said the paper puts forward ways in which the community, industry, and governments can work together to build Australia's national reserve system.
"Dr Kemp and I welcome comments on the paper and invite stakeholders and the wider community to let us know their views," he said.
A copy of the paper and information about the comments process is available from http://www.deh.gov.au/parks/nrs/index.html. Comments should be forwarded to the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage by 6th April 2004.