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

14 July 2006

Australian Government funds protect natural environment


The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today announced $6 million in funding to extend the amount of high conservation value land protected under the National Reserve System.

Applications are now open from partners who wish to acquire properties for protection under the scheme.

Senator Campbell said the nation-wide network of reserves was being set up by the Australian Government in partnership with local communities, non-profit conservation groups, local and State governments and private industry to protect Australia’s unique natural environment.

“This is a system of environment partnership envied around the world,” Senator Campbell said.

“Nowhere else has a national Government joined with other private and public organisations in a concerted strategy to conserve examples of all the nation’s important landscapes, plants and animals.

“This innovative approach is ensuring we have the capacity to preserve large amounts of our natural environment and ensure its future management.”

Senator Campbell said $80 million had been invested by the Australian Government in the National Reserve System scheme to add more than 20 million hectares - an area equal to 250 million house blocks - to the nation’s protected land areas. Eighty million hectares of land is now protected.

“This investment has leveraged almost $90 million from partners to purchase properties and manage their native wildlife in perpetuity,” Senator Campbell said.

“An important feature of the National Reserve System is the successful public-private partnerships with not-for-profit conservation organisations such as Birds Australia, the Australian Bush Heritage Fund and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

“Typically we partner with bodies like these to buy properties and the conservation organisation commits to managing the land in perpetuity with corporate and other philanthropic donations.

“These non-government conservation groups often establish property management committees that draw on local community knowledge and expertise, enshrining community involvement in the management of their natural landscapes,” he said.

Recently, the Howard Government’s National Reserve System programme has assisted partners such as:

Funding is available for the purchase of high priority and poorly reserved land to establish private or publicly managed protected area, or to establish a protection in perpetuity over an area of already owned land.

Applications close on 23 August 2006.

For application forms and more information contact the National Reserve System Section via nrs@deh.gov.au, phone 02 6274 1759 or visit www.deh.gov.au/parks/nrs/program/apply.html

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

Commonwealth of Australia