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Natural Heritage Trust

Media Release
Joint Statement by Minister for the Environment, Robert Hill, and
Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, John Anderson

Tasmania Signs Up for Natural Heritage Trust Funds


7 October 1997

Tasmania has joined mainland States in the largest environmental rescue effort in Australia's history.

The signing of a partnership agreement between the Howard Government and the Tasmanian Government opens the way for funding to flow to Tasmania from the $1.25 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

Prime Minister, John Howard, and Tasmanian Premier, Tony Rundle, signed the Commonwealth-State agreement in Launceston today.

Federal Environment Minister, Robert Hill, and Primary Industries Minister, John Anderson, have welcomed the agreement which acknowledges Tasmania's preeminent contribution to Australia's natural heritage.

Senator Hill said a greater proportion of Tasmania than any other Australian jurisdiction has been incorporated into conservation reserves. The State has the largest area of temperate wilderness in the country.

"Tourism is crucially important to the Tasmanian economy which means the sound management of the State's natural heritage is a high priority," he said.

"Trust funding for Tasmania this financial year is the first instalment of $125 million allocated to the State by the Howard Government to support a range of biodiversity, conservation and natural resources management initiatives, consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development.

"Funding is currently being considered for on-ground activities such as restoring vegetation, protecting remnant vegetation, rehabilitating the water quality of Tasmanian rivers, eradicating weeds and protecting the habitats of endangered birds and animals."

Mr Anderson said Trust funding, by building linkages with land managers in Tasmania, will contribute to sustainable natural resources management and the protection of the State's natural capital infrastructure.

"Close to 30 per cent of the State is under agricultural management," he said. "These off- reserve areas contain some of the State's unique ecosystems, plants and animals.

"Trust funding will ensure Tasmania's agricultural industries prosper and at the same time landholders will have the means to protect the environment and heritage values of their land.

"Trust funding details for Tasmania will be announced shortly and follow a comprehensive community-based assessment process. The projects funded will be a huge boost for conservation and environmental repair efforts in the State."

The partnership agreement between the Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments is the fourth to be signed under the Natural Heritage Trust, following agreements with Western Australia, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. Partnership agreements for the other States and Territories are expected to be finalised in the next few weeks.

7 October 1997
117/97

Media contacts:
Mr Anderson's office, Daryl Hockey, 0419 244 521
Senator Hill's office, Matt Brown, 0419 693 515
Environment Australia, Malcolm Forbes, (02) 6250 0222
DPIE, Tony Byrne, (02) 6272 4624

Commonwealth of Australia