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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

Committee Backs Natural Heritage Trust

October 10, 1996

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has welcomed the report on the Natural Heritage Trust of Australia Bill 1996 by the Senate Environment, Recreation, Communications and the Arts Legislation Committee.

The Committee has made an important contribution to the debate.

The report has offered support for the basic thrust of the Bill and its intentions.

It has also found wide-ranging community support for the Natural Heritage Trust as a means of tackling the environmental problems facing Australia.

The committee has also made a series of constructive recommendations for changes to the Bill. These will be given full and immediate consideration by the Government.

The inquiry was able to hear evidence from a wide range of community and conservation groups.

Their message that there is "an urgent need for the Government to restore confidence in the community's ability to tackle environmental problems" is one that has been heard and clearly understood by this Government.

The Government is committed to moving quickly to establish the major programs of the Natural Heritage Trust.

We are confident the Natural Heritage Trust Bill will be debated and passed in the current session.

The funding base for this major environmental rescue package will flow from the partial sale of Telstra. Legislation for this partial sale will also be debated in this session.

$1-Billion from the proceeds of that partial sale has been earmarked for the Natural Heritage Trust.

The Government thanks the Committee and the groups and individuals who made submissions for their part in the promoting the goal of environmental repair and protection.

Further comment contact Matt Brown on (06) 277 7640 or 0419 693 515.

Commonwealth of Australia