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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
9 June 2006
Places throughout Australia where the rich diversity of native plant and animal species is threatened, have been singled out for increased investment by the Australian Government, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.
“These special places face a variety of threats, such as land clearing, development pressure, salinity, weeds and feral animals,” Senator Campbell said.
“The biodiversity hotspots programme brings a proactive approach to managing threats in areas that are still relatively intact and maintaining their biodiversity values.
“Managing the threats effectively requires a whole of landscape approach across all types of land ownership, to promote active, ongoing conservation management.
“An exciting feature of this programme is that it draws on the considerable expertise of Australia’s non-government conservation organisations to deliver stewardship payments and voluntary property acquisitions for those areas throughout Australia most in need of conservation.”
The stewardship payments offer direct financial support to land-holders to help them protect existing natural habitats with high conservation values. Large properties with outstanding biodiversity values are those most likely to be targeted for acquisition.
“Over the past 10 years, the Australian Government has committed historic levels of funding to tackling our environmental challenges,” Senator Campbell said.
“This programme hits the spot by investing in preventing biodiversity decline and providing support to those land mangers that have already made a commitment to maintaining the biodiversity values of their properties.
“In view of the highly diverse nature and richness of Australia's plants, animals and ecosystems, the Australian Government has not constrained this program to apply only to the 15 previously identified biodiversity hotspots.
“We will soon be launching a process to engage non-government conservation organisations to help deliver some $21 million of projects across Australia. We will be seeking organisations with a proven track record in property acquisition and management for conservation and delivering market based incentive projects.
“This spending complements the on-ground work being funded under the Australian Government’s flagship $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust and the $1.4 billion National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality programmes.”
“In particular it builds on the success of the Government’s Natural Heritage Trust funded National Reserve System Programme that has provided $80 million since 1997 to establish 20 million hectares in 271 new reserves across the country,” Senator Campbell said.
An invitation to tender for agents to deliver the programme is expected to be made in July 2006.
Rob Broadfield on (08) 9325 4227 or 0409 493 902.