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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

5 May 2005

Aboriginal plan champions country, culture and community

The new Wet Tropics region's Aboriginal Natural Resource Management Plan has been welcomed for its focus on the integration of the three C's - Country, Culture and Community , the Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.

Launched on Friday, the plan maps out the Wet Tropics cultural and natural resource priorities and provides a basis for investment from the $1.4 billion National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality. It is a joint initiative of the Federal Department of the Environment and Heritage, Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and the Queensland State Government.

Senator Campbell said the plan was the first of its kind to specifically address the challenge of maintaining cultural distinctiveness and diversity in a rapidly changing landscape.

"The plan is an exciting collaborative effort between Traditional Owners, government agencies and regional research institutions , that will help preserve and protect not only the area's unique plants and animals, but the customs, beliefs and languages of the 18 Rainforest Aboriginal tribal groups who live here," he said.

Senator Campbell said the plan made provisions for responsible economic development of the region's key industries of forestry, tourism, fisheries and aquaculture.

"Many aspects of the plan deal with managing the land and sea so young people have better economic prospects, while maintaining close ties to Country," he said.

"The Aboriginal Plan represents an historic achievement by Traditional Owners to bring national awareness to their pivotal role in ecologically sustainable development in northern Australia."

Senator Campbell said the plan identified and addressed threats such as vegetation clearing, wetland modification and altered fire regimes that are affecting the sustainability of Australia's unique Aboriginal rainforest cultures.

"There is an inseparable connection between people and land in the Wet Tropics that is reflected in this unique plan that addresses not only threats to natural resources, but to cultural sites and traditional values as well," he said.

The plan was launched in conjunction with Queensland Ministers for Environment, Desley Boyle, and Natural Resources, Stephen Robertson.

For more information about the Natural Heritage Trust visit and for the National Action Plan visit

Media contacts:
Renae Stoikos (Minister Campbell's office)   02 6277 7640

Commonwealth of Australia