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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Minister for the River Murray
Minister for Regional Development
The Hon Karlene Maywald

5 May 2006

Water for river Murray floodplain and river red gums

The Murray River's Markaranka floodplain and magnificent river red gums will benefit as one gigalitre of water - enough to fill approximately 444 Olympic swimming pools - is returned to the Murray.

The area will receive a 1 gigalitre water donation from Foster's Wine Estates under a South Australian Government initiative to encourage private water donations. This programme is being supported by $150,000 from the Australian Government, which is being used for on-ground works to get the water on to the wetlands.

The Markaranka project was launched today by the Australian Minister for the Environment for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, with South Australian River Murray Minister, Karlene Maywald, and Foster's Viticulture Director, Stuart McNab.

"I congratulate Foster's Wine Estates for this exemplary example of free enterprise environmentalism," Senator Campbell said.

"This project complements other measures by the Australian Government to address the declining health of the River Murray.

"The floodplain, which is under a South Australian Heritage Agreement, has a diverse ecological community and is a valuable asset along the River Murray," Ms Maywald said. "It is an example of what government, industry and the community can achieve by working together. The River Murray is an iconic part of our landscape and the South Australian Government is committed to preserving it for future generations."

The local community will be involved in the project, which includes pumping water onto to the floodplain between the towns of Waikerie and Morgan.

Stuart McNab said environmental sustainability was paramount to Foster's success.

"As a company with an active sustainability strategy, we take a proactive approach to these in order to mitigate risk and provide industry leadership," he said. "We are very excited at the opportunity to work with our partners to improve the ecological condition of this site."

Senator Campbell encouraged all corporate citizens to consider working with the Australian Government to protect the Murray and other Australian icons.

Media contact:
Marianne McCabe (Senator Campbell) 02 6277 7640 or 0400 389 580
Matt Clemow (Minister Maywald) 0417 887 824
Matt Schmidt (Foster's Wine Estates) 0417 828 423

Commonwealth of Australia