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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Senator Richard Colbeck

26 September 2005

NHT Grant produces the goods for Tasmania

North facing slopes in the midlands and the Derwent and Fingal Valleys no longer present the barren face to the world they did five years ago, thanks to the hard work of 147 landholders and a $920,000 Natural Heritage Trust grant from the Australian Government.

Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Richard Colbeck, today welcomed the successful completion of the North Facing Slopes Project.

Senator Campbell said government support for NHT projects around Australia is providing positive benefits for the environment and communities.

“The results of conservation work do not happen overnight, but when they are completed, projects like this one in Tasmania can provide a sustainable land management model for people in regions across the country,” Senator Campbell said.

“Initiatives like North Facing Slopes Project are being built on through current NHT funding for Tasmania for works to better manage soils, undertake property management plans and manage salinity.”

The North Facing Slopes Project started in November 1999 and involved 88 landholders erecting 383 kilometres of fencing on 340 sites, enclosing 9,701 hectares of degraded slopes so that grazing could be better managed in Tasmania’s low rainfall areas.

Many more landholders participated in field days and on the project Steering Committee.

“The overall result has been about 19,400 hectares of dry hill country being better protected from soil erosion. There has been a dramatic improvement in ground cover including increases in native pasture species, regeneration of native trees and shrubs and reduction in weeds,” Senator Campbell said.

Senator Colbeck said biodiversity in the area has also improved and farm productivity has also increased.

Launching the final report of the project at an event at the ‘Lovely Banks’ property today, Senator Colbeck said the report included information and case studies which would be useful for managers and landholders in similar situations.

“Stock often graze on the sunny north facing slopes and over-grazing results in loss of ground cover and increased risk of erosion. As this project has shown, this problem can be managed with benefits all round by fencing areas and allowing for more effective rotational grazing,” Senator Colbeck said.

The Tasmanian Government provided in-kind support to the project including technical expertise on soil management and native grasses and pastures management and advice on the project delivery.

Media Contacts:
Renae Stoikos (Minister Campbell) (02) 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Aaron Oldaker (Senator Colbeck) 03 64245960 or 0408 826 330

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