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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Australian Government Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation
Ian Macdonald
Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
Stephen Robertson
Queensland Minister for the Environment, Local Government, Planning and Women
Desley Boyle

31 March 2005

$2.7 million and new community liaison for Cape York

Australian Government funding of $2.7 million, and extensive community consultation will go a long way to ensuring Cape York's unique attributes and natural and cultural assets continue to be protected and looked after for many years to come.

The priority investment from the Natural Heritage Trust, and the appointment of Mary Woods to conduct community consultations around Cape York before the end of June was announced today by Australian Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Ian Campbell, and Fisheries and Forestry and Conservation, Ian Macdonald, and Queensland Ministers for Natural Resources, Stephen Robertson, and Environment, Desley Boyle.

Senator Campbell said that in the vast and sparsely populated Cape York Peninsula it was critical to negotiate a targeted package of activities for each area and community.

"Ms Woods will draw on her wealth of experience in rural and agricultural areas and Landcare organisations, as she consults with communities and stakeholders to further refine the Cape York Natural Resource Management Plan," Senator Campbell said.

"The $2.7 million of funding will help develop local people's capacity, skills and knowledge by supporting collaborative partnerships between all stakeholders.

"This will contribute to supporting priority on-ground works across the region including fire, weed and feral animal management.

"The fire project will pilot local Indigenous fire management training through a regional training network and carry out planned pre-season burning according to best fire management practices. Sub regional and property level fire management plans will also be developed through this investment.

"This project uses satellite information and contributes to the North Australian Fire project website which is accessed by many pastoralists during the fire season," he said.

Senator Macdonald said weed and feral animal management received a high level of community support and involvement.

"These funds will help complete pest management plans for all local government shire councils, Aboriginal freehold areas and pastoral properties on Cape York Peninsula and ensure that weeds and feral animal mapping is completed, updated and maintained.

"Annual pest surveys will be conducted and training courses and information-exchange forums will be held. Most importantly, infestations of new weed or feral animal species will be identified promptly and eradicated" Senator Macdonald said.

Mr Robertson said the funds would also help halt and reverse the decline in water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef through an analysis of water quality data.

"A water quality sampling program will deliver comprehensive data that will be published with the results of mapping ground and surface water resources of Cape York Peninsula," he said.

Ms Boyle added the funding would enhance on- ground protection of Queensland's natural heritage by dealing with many of the factors that threaten Cape York Peninsula's outstanding biodiversity and natural values.

"In particular, the funding will support and enhance Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service's fire and pest management programs, by providing increased resources for pig control in the region."

Ms Boyle said that the widely dispersed populations on Cape York Peninsula would have access to appropriate incentives, information and advice through co-ordinated delivery of the investment.

"It will be important that good governance arrangements are put in place to coordinate and implement negotiated on-ground outcomes for planning and management of the Cape York Peninsula's outstanding natural and cultural values," she said.

Mary Woods has represented both the Queensland Murray-Darling Committee Inc as Chairman, and Acting Chairman, and Vice-Chairman, for the Border Rivers Catchment Management Association. She received the Queensland Government Regional Achiever of the year Award in 2003, and has also been awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to conservation and the environment (Landcare) - Australia Day, 2001.

Attached is a list of projects funded by the Natural Heritage Trust.

Media Contacts:
Minister Campbell: Renae Stoikos (02) 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Minister Macdonald: David Cristafulli (02) 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433
Mr Robertson: Paul Lynch (07) 389 63689 or 0417 728 676
Ms Boyle: Louise Foley (07) 3227 8825 or 0407 966 829

Projects recommended for pre-accreditation funding

Weed and Feral Animal Management

Pest Management Plans will be completed for all local government and Indigenous community areas on Cape York Peninsula

$506 380

Land and Sea Management local delivery

Identify and carry out priority on-ground works, prepare viability plans for each land and sea management centre, review and negotiate with traditional owners the arrangements required to deliver effective sub-regional land and sea management.

$1 222 000

Water Management

Help halt and reverse the decline in water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef, and help improve the quality of water entering the Gulf of Carpentaria.

$38 344

Catchment Management

The program aims to ensure that Cape York Peninsula communities have access to incentives, information and advice.

$145 800

Marine and Coastal Management

In consultation with relevant organisations and community representatives, priority resource assessment, planning and on-ground works will be identified, conducted and reviewed.

$91 400

Fire Management

Continues on from previous successful project. A CYP Fire Management Strategy and Implementation plan will be prepared, ten sub-regional or property fire plans developed with landholders, and a fire information and training network will be developed.

$319 280

Community Planning

Covers additional community consultation including cost of eminent person and production of a brief user-friendly document incorporating key aspects of the NRM plan and investment strategy

$125 000

Core Operations

$265 000

NHT Total

$2 713 204

Commonwealth of Australia