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

$2.5 Million Boost in Battle for the Bush


25 September 1996
(119/96)

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says all Australians have a role to play in saving the bush for future generations.

Senator Hill has announced grants totalling $2.5 million for community groups and individuals to protect and regenerate the Australian bush.

The funding comes from the Federal Government's Save the Bush and One Billion Trees community grants.

Senator Hill says the bush remains a powerful source of inspiration to the Australian community and a unique part of our natural heritage.

"Australians are becoming increasingly aware of the damage we have done to the bush. Loss of vegetation is the one of the most significant environmental problems facing the nation.

"The momentum is now building in the community to turn back the tide of degradation.

"The funding we are announcing today for the Save the Bush and One Billion Trees community grants will capitalise on that momentum.

"Our efforts to save the bush must be driven by community spirit and involvement. By providing funding for on-ground works, these programs will allow more Australians to play a role in protecting and restoring the bush."

Senator Hill says Australia has a unique opportunity to further build on the community effort through the $1 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

"One of the key programs to be funded under the Natural Heritage Trust is the $318 million National Vegetation Initiative.

"This will provide the capital base needed to back the enthusiasm and efforts of the community.

"Our aim is to ensure that for the first time since European settlement, the rate of establishment exceeds the rate at which vegetation is being cleared."

Senator Hill has praised the increasing numbers of Australians who are prepared to get their hands dirty in the effort to maintain the character of the Australian bush.

"The projects for this financial year involve groups Australia wide and include the Whitsunday Landcare group regenerating a section of the banks of the Proserpine River and the Parndana school community on Kangaroo Island setting up a seed bank.

"In Victoria, the Ullina Landcare group are going to fence remnant vegetating in and around local volcanic cones and in the ACT, the Friends of the Aranda Bushland are producing a photographic field guide to their local area."

The Save the Bush and One Billion Trees community grants programs are part of the National Landcare Program and are administered by the Federal Environment Department.

Contact: Matt Brown (Senator Hill) 06 277 7640; 0419 693 515
Helen Halliday (Department - ANCA) 06 250 0789

Commonwealth of Australia