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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
1 July 2006
Queensland Environment Minister, Desley Boyle, has mislead the Australian public by claiming the Australian Government has not honoured a $5 million commitment to buy back private Daintree rainforest land for conservation.
The facts are:
- The Commonwealth allocated $5 million to the Australian Rainforest Foundation in May last year to engage with the private sector to protect pristine Daintree rainforest through land acquisition, stewardship support and education activities.
- The Australian Government has spent $1.3 million on land acquisitions and in August this year, the first lot bought with the ARF funds will be on-sold to a private buyer for the purposes of rainforest protection and conservation. This purchase will mark the involvement of ordinary Australians in buying freehold rainforest for protection.
- This is an important difference between the Queensland Government's buyback of private land for addition to reserves and the Commonwealth's programme, which also allows for conservation agreements on land title and resale to private owners who will undertake environmental management and conservation of the property. The proceeds from sale of the land go back into the conservation fund.
- The ARF has also been contracted by the Commonwealth to actively encourage and support Daintree landowners who wish to remain on their blocks and cooperatively manage the rainforest. The Australian government recognises the value of working in partnership with the local community and those landholders who have a deep commitment to the protection and conservation of the Daintree.
- The ARF has allocated funds from the $5 million to stewardship payments to landowners for feral pig control, weed eradication and cassowary protection works. Public meetings are to be held in the next two weeks in the Daintree to finalise these issues.
Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902