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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

13 September 2006

Australian Government protects Australia’s most important wetlands

The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, has drawn attention to the unprecedented investment by the Howard Government to protect important wetlands.

Senator Campbell said the Australian Government was committed to protecting Australia’s most important wetlands vital to our river systems, nesting water birds and the agriculture that depends on them.

"In addition to the historic investment in landscape and waterway restoration from the $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust and the $1.4 billion National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, this Government has provided $13.4 million from the $1.6 billion Water Smart Australia scheme for a lifeline project for unique wetlands in New South Wales," Senator Campbell said.

The NSW Wetland Recovery Plan funding will restore health to the ecologically stressed Macquarie Marshes and Gwydir Wetlands, located downstream of Moree in Northern NSW.

"This project demonstrates the Australian Government’s high priority and commitment to protecting these internationally significant wetlands that are amongst the most important breeding grounds for water birds in Australia and the surrounding grazing and farming," he said.

The project include works to improve the knowledge of wetland and environmental water management, improve water flows and deal with noxious wetland weeds that choke the wetlands and invade adjacent pastures, significantly affecting productivity.

Water savings will also be made through more efficient infrastructure such as piping open channels and market mechanisms to recover water.

"I have also approved a $634,000 investment from the Natural Heritage Trust for a project that will guide industry, managers, landholders and the community to maximise environmental flow benefits for the important Gwydir floodplains and wetlands," Senator Campbell said.

"This knowledge gained from this project can be transferred to other significant wetlands, such as the Macquarie Marshes.

"Through these and other landscape scale projects the Howard Government continues its historic investment in the biggest environmental rescue in the history of Federation," he said.

Media Contact: Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902

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