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

NEW WORLD HERITAGE PROJECTS FOR SHARK BAY


10 May 1998
(48/98WA)

The Howard government has announced a range of new projects to improve the protection and management of the Shark Bay World Heritage area.

Environment Minister Robert Hill says Shark Bay has received a significant increase in funding under the Coalition.

"We are committing $675,000 to the projects being announced today from the 1997/98 Budget. Shark Bay received only $169,000 in the final year of the Labor government.

"This week's Federal Budget will again show our commitment to protecting world heritage with total funding for the 8 State-managed world heritage areas remaining well above what was provided by the ALP in its final year in office.

"With the help of the Natural Heritage Trust, Australia is in a better position than ever to enhance the protection and management of Shark Bay.

"The projects funded today will help conserve the internationally significant conservation values of Shark Bay, particularly the region's threatened mammals. They will also improve visitor facilities in the region and promote ecologically sustainable tourism."

Funding is being provided for the ongoing captive breeding program of threatened mammals on Peron Peninsula. This is part of Project Eden and will help provide immediate protection to these rare animals, including the Rufous Hare-wallaby, Banded Hare-wallaby and Western Barred Bandicoot.

An Animal Health and Laboratory Support Facility is also being funded which aims to ensure the health and successful breeding of colonies of rare and endangered mammals.

A total of $200 000 is being provided to upgrade visitor facilities at Eagle Bluff, a popular tourist destination that provides spectacular views of the sea, coastline and marine-life. Eagle Bluff, on the west coast of Peron Peninsula, is one of the most popular lookout sites in the Shark Bay World Heritage area. Unfortunately, the area is very easily eroded and is rapidly being damaged by large number of visitors.

This funding will be used to construct a timber boardwalk and two lookouts in the area as well as toilets and carparks. This work will provide safe access for visitors while protecting and rehabilitating this important World Heritage area.

Another major project which will allow visitors to enjoy more of the Shark Bay area involves upgrading the vehicle access to Peron Homestead. The Commonwealth is providing $150 000 for this project which will increase the recreation opportunities in the Peron area.

Other projects to receive funding include a community education and interpretation program, ongoing tagging and monitoring of endangered Loggerhead turtles and feral animal research and control.

The funding for Shark Bay is part of $7.3 million of Commonwealth funding for the management of eight world heritage areas. This money will support a wide range of projects in the Wet Tropics, Tasmanian Wilderness, Fraser Island, Willandra Lakes, Lord Howe Island, the Riversleigh and Naracoorte Fossil Sites, and the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves in NSW and Queensland.

Media contact - Matt Brown on 02 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515

May 10, 1998
48/98WA

Commonwealth of Australia