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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
The Hon Peter McGauran MP
Queensland Minister for the Environment, Local Government, Planning and Women
Desley Boyle MP
Queensland Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Water
Henry Palaszczuk MP

22 June 2006

Cape York receives $1,745,000 to protect natural resources

Australian and Queensland Government Ministers today announced a total of $1,745,000 in Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) funding for the Cape York region.

Most of the funding will be delivered through the Cape York Peninsula Development Association (CYPDA).

Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said the funding would allow existing programmes to continue, such as fire management and weed and feral animal control, as well as directing investment to some new initiatives.

“An investment of $580,000 will support an extension of pest management training and strategic control activities, and a vehicle wash down facility will be constructed at a cost of some $250,000 to reduce the spread of weeds in the Peninsula,” Senator Campbell said.

“Additionally, $150,000 will fund an integrated turtle management and protection programme in Western Cape York. This will involve local Aboriginal communities in protecting turtle nesting sites and the targeting of feral pigs which dig up nests to rob turtle eggs,” he said.

Australian Government Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran, said fire management was a critical component of the funding package.

“Some $310,000 will fund fire management training and the development of property fire plans, and the impact of fire on the Peninsula will be assessed.

“This will help develop best practice fire management,” Mr McGauran said.

“Uncontrolled fires cause severe property and environmental damage.

“A further $230,000 will be invested to augment the fire warning infrastructure in the Peninsula by building extra UHF communications towers,” he said.

Queensland Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Water, Henry Palaszczuk, said the NHT funding would be matched by in-kind support from the Queensland Government.

“Cape York presents special challenges in the management of natural resources, particularly given the isolated nature of many of the population centres. We are committed to supporting effective management action at the local level, in particular engaging Indigenous communities in the work,” Mr Palaszczuk said.

Queensland Minister for the Environment, Desley Boyle, said Cape York’s unique biodiversity assets made the region a high priority for investment.

“We are actively managing natural habitats to protect them,” Ms Boyle said. “For example, using fire effectively by burning in patches in a planned way rather than allowing uncontrolled wildfires is essential in maintaining Cape York’s important natural assets,” Ms Boyle said.

Cape York Peninsula is one of the 14 natural resource management regions in Queensland created to deliver major government environmental and sustainable agriculture programmes. Its outstanding natural assets have been long recognised.

The remoteness of the Peninsula and its small, dispersed population centres make it unique amongst other regions in Queensland.

The Cape region covers an area of approximately 137,000 square kilometres. Land uses include broad acre pastoralism, bauxite and silica sand mining, nature reserves, tourism and fishing.

Land is also dedicated to national parks and to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander use. Roughly 700 kilometres of land along the west coast of the Cape is predominantly Aboriginal lands, reserves and mines. Most of the pastoral leases occupy the centre of the region as well as locations on the east coast.

A full list of activities funded under the Natural Heritage Trust for 2006-07 is attached.

Media contact:
Marianne McCabe (Senator Campbell) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Russ Neal (Minister McGauran) 02 6277 7520 or 0413 601 303
Carissa Mason (Minister Boyle) 07 3227 8819
Kirby Anderson (Minister Palaszczuk) 07 38963689

Stage 1 Australian Government Natural Heritage Trust Funding for Cape York 2006-07

Programme Sub-programme Description of Activities Total Australian Government funding for 12 months
1. Applied Resource Management Weed and Feral Animal Management Extension of pest management training and regional coordination; strategic control on-ground. 580,000
    construction of a vehicle wash down facility; fencing of waste disposal facilities. 300,000
  Fire Management Fire management training and development of property fire plans; Improved web site and publications; Assessment of fire impacts. 310,000
    Installation of fire warning and management infrastructure. 230,000
TOTAL     1,420,000
2. Community Resource Management Marine and Coastal Management Priority resource assessment, planning, coordination, and on-ground works to achieve coastal and marine outcomes. 175,000
    Integrated marine turtle management and protection, western Cape York 150,000
TOTAL     325,000
GRAND TOTAL     $1,745,000
Commonwealth of Australia