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Media Release
Acting Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz

11 May 2006

Protecting Tasmanian forests on private land


Action to encourage the voluntary preservation of more than 45,000 hectares of forest on private land in Tasmania was announced today with the launch of the Australian Government’s Forest Conservation Fund Strategic Plan.

Acting Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, and Minister for Forestry, Senator Eric Abetz, said the plan provided a strategic and coordinated approach to increasing reserves and protection for Tasmania’s unique forests.

“Clearing of native vegetation is an issue affecting Tasmania's natural environment”, the Minister said.

“As a result, the Australian Government has addressed this by establishing the Forest Conservation Fund to protect more than 45,000 hectares of old growth forest and other under-reserved forest communities on private land – including in the Mole Creek area.

“The fund will operate as a voluntary market-based programme offering land owners the opportunity to covenant parts of their property to form reserves to complement those on public land.”

Senator Abetz said the implementation of the Forest Conservation Fund Strategic Plan was a critical step in protecting the legitimate interests of landholders while securing the environment and building on Tasmania's stock of unique and protected forests.

The plan includes:

The Forest Conservation Fund is a key element of the Howard Government’s Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement.

“The first round of landholder applications will be sought later this year and I encourage all landholders to take part in this opportunity.”

Tasmanian landholders interested in the programme can register interest via email fcf@deh.gov.au, call the Department of the Environment and Heritage Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772 or visit the website at www.deh.gov.au/land/forestpolicy/fcf

Media Contacts:
Brad Stansfield 0419 884 666

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