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

Media Release

Saving our Wild Rivers


3 June 1996
(67/96)

A national photographic exhibition which aims to raise public awareness about Australia's remaining 'wild rivers' and the need to conserve them has opened today in Canberra.

The 'Our Wild Rivers' National Photographic Exhibition has been opened by Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill. Senator Hill says the exhibition highlights the urgency of efforts to save our 'wild rivers'.

"While many people think of wild rivers as pure white water cascading down steep cliffs, there are other kinds of rivers, just as important to our ecology, which can be described as 'wild'. These are slow moving coastal rivers or normally dry river beds and seasonal streams such as in the arid and monsoonal parts of the country.

"The term 'wild rivers' encompasses any river which remains relatively unchanged by modern development. Unfortunately many of our rivers have been damaged or polluted over the past 200 years.

"The Wild Rivers Project is playing a key role in the identification of our remaining undisturbed rivers so that they can be protected from damage and pollution and will be there for future generations.

"The project is developing national data on the condition of Australia's rivers and draft wild river conservation management guidelines. Studies are being undertaken by the States and Territories along with the ANU's Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies to finalise the identification of Australia's wild rivers.

"The data being collected will form an integral part of the knowledge base required for the National Land and Water Audit and the National Rivercare Initiative.

"These programs will flow from the Coalition's commitment to fund a $1-billion Natural Heritage Trust from the sale of one-third of Telstra."

Senator Hill has also awarded the People's Choice Award to a former Canberra student, 21-year-old Jeremy Graham, for his photograph "My River, Our River, Wild River" which features the National Estate-listed Gibraltar Falls near Tharwa in the ACT.

Photographers' perceptions of Australia's wild rivers are captured in this exhibition of 103 entries selected from the Australian Heritage Commission's recent competition held to raise awareness about these rivers.

'Our Wild Rivers' is open to the public daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm until June 30 at the Visitor Centre, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra.

For further details contact:
Matt Brown (Senator Hill) 06 277 7640 or 0419 693 515
Jane Morrison (Heritage Commission) 06 217 2170
Commonwealth of Australia