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


21 August 1998

More than 120,000 trees and native bushes will be planted in the next year by local councils and community groups across Melbourne in an effort to make the urban environment 'greener'.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has announced funding of $350,000 from the Natural Heritage Trust for Melbourne's first Integrated Urban Bushcare Project.

Almost 50 community and school groups will provide the workforce for this major urban revegetation project across 10 council areas. Their efforts will be coordinated and assisted by the local councils in 27 individual project sites.

Senator Hill says the Melbourne project will provide a blueprint for urban Bushcare initiatives in other capital cities.

"The Natural Heritage Trust has already been able to fund a range of revegetation projects in urban centres.

"What makes this project different is that it brings together the skills, enthusiasm and efforts of community groups and councils across an entire metropolitan area.

"They have identified the areas of need and put together an integrated plan to revegetate urban Melbourne. They have also organised their on-ground workforce.

"But they need a financial base to back their efforts and that's where the Natural Heritage Trust comes in.

"For what may seem a relatively small investment of $350,000, we get more than 120,000 trees and native bushes planted, wildlife corridors set up or extended, fencing works to keep animals out of sensitive vegetation areas, and protection of habitat of local native species such as the Legless Lizard in Kananook Creek.

"We are getting the best of both worlds. We are giving power to local communities to fix their local problems with the added benefit of these efforts coming under a coordinated city-wide plan. That plan ensures these efforts are not piecemeal but all fit together as part of the larger picture."

Senator Hill says work will also be done to bring more council areas under the scheme through the development of Strategic Vegetation Programs to identify priority areas for vegetation protection.

Media contact:
Matt Brown on 02 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515
August 21, 1998

Commonwealth of Australia