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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Australian Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation
Senator Eric Abetz

3 July 2006

Hobart's bushland skyline conserved forever

Hobart's stunning bushland skyline will be conserved for future generations with the purchase of a 30 hectare property, Porter Hill, for Australia's National Reserve System.

The Australian Government has provided $1 million from the Natural Heritage Trust to help buy Porter Hill, a belt of native Tasmanian woodland with rare plants and animals overlooking Hobart's CBD.

The purchase has been made in partnership with the Hobart City Council.

"The purchase of Porter Hill for the National Reserve System is a fantastic investment for the people of Hobart and for all Australians," Minister for Conservation, Senator Eric Abetz said.

"Hobart's protected bush now extends from the alpine heathlands of Mt Wellington, down the densely-forested foothills and across the skyline of Mount Nelson and Porter Hill towards the River Derwent."

The Minister said the purchase was a unique opportunity to protect the environment of a capital city.

"This beautiful property just five kilometres from the CBD has woodlands of White and Tasmanian Blue Gums, White Peppermint and Drooping Sheoak as well as Tall Wallaby Grass which is so rare in Tasmania," Senator Abetz said.

"Threatened or vulnerable fauna such as the Swift Parrot and the Eastern Barred Bandicoot live here and it's one of very few sites with recordings of all four of Tasmania's fungivorous marsupials, the Tasmanian Bettong, the Poteroo, the Eastern Barred Bandicoot and the Brown Bandicoot."

Lord Mayor Rob Valentine said the purchase followed significant investment by Council over several years to protect Hobart's skyline environment.

"Porter Hill is a vital addition to Hobart's Open Space Plan, which protects our important natural, cultural, recreational and scenic values," Alderman Valentine said.

"The property closes the gap in the belt of 4500 hectares of native Tasmanian bushland surrounding the city and managed by the Hobart City Council. This continuous strategic belt helps protect unique but threatened plants and animals in their natural habitat."

Senator Abetz said the latest addition to the National Reserve System comes on top of the joint purchase in 2003 by the Australian Government and the Hobart City Council of Lower Porter Hill.

"This partnership with the Hobart City Council highlights the growing role of local government in protecting our environment by contributing to our National Reserve System," the Minister said.

Australia's National Reserve System is a nation-wide network of reserves especially set up to protect Australia's unique natural environment for current and future generations. Funds for purchasing property come through the National Reserve System Programme, part of the Natural Heritage Trust.

"As the National Reserve System Programme approaches its tenth anniversary, Porter Hill brings to 286 the number of landholdings added to the National Reserve System," the Minister said.

"Since 1997, the Australian Government has invested more than $80 million to build the National Reserve System, adding more than 20 million hectares to the nation's protected land areas.

"More than 80 million hectares - 10 per cent of Australia's continent - is now protected under the National Reserve System," he said.

Media Contacts:
Rob Broadfield (Senator Campbell's Office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Brad Stansfield, (Senator Abetz's Office) 0419 884 666
Alderman Rob Valentine-Lord Mayor, Hobart City Council, 03 6238 2702

Commonwealth of Australia