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Natural Heritage Trust

Media Release


22 July 1998

Research aimed at ensuring dolphins continue to inhabit north Queensland inshore waters is one of 14 projects in the State to receive Natural Heritage Trust coastal funding of $1.1 million.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says the projects will protect our marine creatures and help prevent pollution entering our coastal waters.

Senator Hill says the dolphin research project is vital to ensuring the long-term survival of the Irrawaddy and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins.

"Populations of the Irrawaddy and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins are under serious threat due to human activities throughout much of their range.

"This $92,000 project by the James Cook University will assess human impacts on these two species in northern Queensland by estimating population size, and determining ranging and feeding behaviour.

"Their work will give us the behavioural and ecological data we need so we can ensure that viable populations continue to exist in Australian waters.

"Similar marine life projects will be conducted at Woongarra Marine Park, where locals will be trained in monitoring threatened turtle habitats, and at Michaelmas Cay, where the impacts of tourism on seabirds will be examined."

Senator Hill says other projects reflect the importance that local communities place on preventing pollution from entering coastal waters.

"Local communities, working with their local councils, have recognised that the best way to clean-up and protect their beaches and coastline is to stop the pollution from getting there in the first place.

"The Brisbane City Council will use $82,000 to construct and monitor a wetland near the Oxley Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant to trial an improved method of dealing with sewage.

"This project has the potential to produce very positive results by directly reducing the negative impacts of wastewater on the coastal environment. The findings from this projects can then be used by other councils around the State and the country.

"With a $40,000 grant, the Livingstone Shire Council will install a rubbish collector and pollutant trap at the ocean outlets of two of Yeppoon's main drainage systems to prevent further pollution of the town's coastline.

"These pollutant traps can stop rubbish such as plastic bags and cigarette butts from being washed into the ocean.

"The end result of all of these projects will be cleaner beaches and a healthier environment for our marine wildlife."

The Natural Heritage Trust's Coasts and Clean Seas initiative will provide $125 million over five years to support the conservation, repair and sustainable use of Australia's coastal and marine environment.

Information on how to apply for funding from the Natural Heritage Trust is available by telephoning Environment Australia's Community Information Unit on freecall 1800 803 772.

22 July 1998

Matt Brown (Senator Hill's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515
Conall O'Connell (Environment Australia) 02 6274 1403

Commonwealth of Australia