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

13 October 2005

Water to help the Barmah-Millewa Forest

The Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today welcomed the release of water to help the Barmah-Millewa Forest wetland system.

The Barmah-Millewa Forest is the world's largest River Red Gum forest and straddles the Murray River near Echuca-Moama. The forest is recognised as a Ramsar wetland of international importance but has not received a large flood in several years. These floods are vital for maintaining the health of the forest. The water will come from the release of an environmental water allocation for the forest, made available by the Victorian and New South Wales State Governments.

"I commend Victoria and New South Wales for acting quickly to release this water, which will provide great environmental benefits for the Barmah-Millewa Forest," Senator Campbell said.

Senator Campbell said water to the Barmah-Millewa Forest would be provided over the coming months and would be closely monitored so that flows are managed to deliver the maximum environmental benefits. Several hundred gigalitres of water are likely to be provided to water the forest, with the final volume dependent on seasonal conditions and ecological responses in the forest over the coming months.

"The Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council has also recently agreed to provide 19 gigalitres of water and $1.5 million to water 60 sites of stressed River Red Gums along the Murray River," Senator Campbell said.

"This comes on top of another announcement four weeks ago by the Australian and Victorian Governments to provide nearly $1 million for watering almost 2000 hectares of River Red Gum habitat in Victoria.

"Collectively these actions will provide a great boost to stressed River Red Gums along the Murray River and its floodplains.

"In addition to River Red Gums, this watering event should also benefit native fish, frogs, birds and wetland vegetation. These are all important components of what makes the Barmah-Millewa Forest such a significant wetland area."

Media Contacts:
Renae Stoikos (02) 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia