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

Media Release

Threatened Species Not All 'Cute and Cuddly'

16 May 1996

The Federal Government is stepping up its campaign to save Australia's threatened species with the launch of a new educational video featuring some of the nation's lesser known battlers.

The Ghost Bat, Mallee Fowl and Broad-headed Snake are among 11 of Australia's more unusual threatened species which will be introduced to classrooms around the nation and overseas. The video, "Australia's Threatened Plants and Animals", is aimed at primary and lower secondary students.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says the video is a critical step in raising awareness of the plight of our threatened flora and fauna.

"Saving our native wildlife should not become a popularity contest. There is a danger that we could become too focussed on saving majestic creatures such as the Blue Whale or cute and cuddly creatures such as the Bilby.

"While they are deserving of the rescue efforts being undertaken, we shouldn't forget the lesser known creatures who also face a bleak future but don't attract the media or public spotlight.

"The Ghost Bat, Mallee Fowl and Broad-headed Snake may not win any beauty contests but their survival is just as important as the well- known, better loved species."

Senator Hill says the video takes the message of environmental involvement straight into our classrooms.

"The video highlights the range of threatened species and habitats in Australia and encourages students to become involved in the rescue effort.

"The students will see the positive results of recovery programs and how they as individuals can make a difference by being involved in community action to help conserve species and habitats.

"The Federal Government is committed to ensuring the recovery of threatened species and to restoring threatened habitats to a secure status.

"We have committed an additional $16 million to the Endangered Species Program and funds from the $1 Billion Natural Heritage Trust will also contribute to the rescue effort. The funds from the Natural Heritage Trust will become available from the sale of one third of Telstra."

The video and teacher's notes meet Australian cross-curriculum requirements and highlight the close relationship Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have with the environment. The kit, produced by the Australian Nature Conservation Agency and Classroom Video, will be marketed world-wide.

Matt Brown, Senator Hill's Office, 0419 693 515; 06 277 7640
Malcolm Forbes, ANCA, 06 250 0325

Commonwealth of Australia