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

25 November 2005

Invitation to help conserve regional biodiversity


Coral reefs, rainforests and primates will be among the threatened species and habitats in the Asia Pacific region that will be better protected, thanks to a helping hand from the Australian Government.

Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today invited applications for the third round of funding for the Australian Government’s programme to help conserve biodiversity hotspots in South-East Asia and the Pacific.

Senator Campbell said the Regional Natural Heritage Programme (RNHP) was a three-year, $10 million grant programme to help conserve biodiversity hotspots in Australia’s region which are dangerously close to destruction.

“The previous two rounds of funding from the RNHP have already helped to protect some of the most threatened species and habitats in hotspots in the Asia-Pacific region,” Senator Campbell said.

“Through the Australian Government’s investment in regional biodiversity we are funding 18 projects including the protection of orang-utans in Indonesia, coral reefs near PNG, Fijian rainforests and one of the most endangered primates in the world, the Cat Ba Langur, in Vietnam.

“The 2005-06 funding round will extend this vitally important work in our region and we look forward to supporting our neighbours in their efforts to save their outstanding natural heritage.

“Australia’s leadership in conserving regional biodiversity through this exciting programme has had real, practical, ground level benefits to the area. For example, in Vietnam three schools have been able to set up nature clubs to teach children about protecting the environment in the Tam Dao National Park area.

“In Cambodia an outreach project has led to thousands of people being taught about elephant conservation. And in Fiji significant progress is being made to protect the critically endangered Fiji petrel.

“All these projects, no matter how large or small, are having a positive impact in the region and I look forward to announcing the successful recipients of this third round of funding.”

Grants for RNHP between $10,000 and $500,000 are now invited from organisations actively involved in biodiversity conservation projects in South-East Asia and the Pacific.

RNHP was launched by the Prime Minister on 18 February 2004, and applications for the third funding round close on 6 January 2006.

Further information about the Australian Government’s Regional Natural Heritage Programme visit www.deh.gov.au/heritage/programs/index.html#rnhp

Media contact:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's Office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

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