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2 June 2009
Environment Minister Peter Garrett today released a national blueprint to underpin better protection of Australia's biodiversity.
Australia's National Reserve System Strategy 2009-2030 has been developed by the Commonwealth, states and territories, who have all agreed to work towards clear targets to secure long-term protection for our terrestrial biodiversity.
"Despite come very real environmental challenges, from feral pests to climate change, we are determined to safeguard our landscapes and native species for future generations," Mr Garrett said.
"One of our most effective tools in securing this natural life support system is Australia's National Reserve System (NRS) – the nation-wide network of parks, reserves and private protected areas.
"Sixteen years after Paul Keating first championed the concept of a National Reserve System, our country has a vital and evolving network of 9,000 protected areas covering over 90 million hectares – that's more than 11 per cent of the continent.
"This strategy now formally recognises the work of governments at all levels and the investment and effort by farmers, Indigenous Australians and conservation groups whose support ensures that by working together we protect some of our most important areas for biodiversity.
"This truly national partnership is envied around the world – and we hope this strategy will drive that partnership to a new level.
"Through this strategy all States and Territories are now recognising the importance of Indigenous Protected Areas in protecting biodiversity and including IPA areas in the nation's NRS."
Mr Garret said the strategy has identified clear national targets for the National Reserve System, including the protection of critical refuge areas for climate change resilience.
"The Rudd Government has made the National Reserve System a priority under Caring for our Country, significantly increasing investment in the system to $180 million over five years to expand the protected area network," Mr Garrett said.
"But we can't do it alone, so this strategy identifies how all our partners will work together to protect examples of at least 80 per cent of Australia's native ecosystems by 2030.
"It adopts the latest guidelines from the International Union for Conservation of Nature to ensure world's best practice in the way we manage our protected areas.
"To support implementation across the country, I've asked the states and territories to prepare five-year plans, taking into account the regional differences in areas needing protection and the conservation challenges they raise.
"And in recognition of the growing role of private landholders and conservation organisations, who have already protected nearly 2000 properties with more than 2.6 million hectares of habitat, I've asked my department to establish a National Reserve System Partners' Forum," Mr Garrett said.
The report is available at: http://environment.gov.au/parks/publications/nrs/nrsstrat.html