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

GOSFORD COUNCIL TO RECEIVE $1 MILLION TO BUY COASTAL BUSHLAND


30 September 1998

Federal Environment Minister, Senator Robert Hill, today announced funding of up to $1 million over the next three years from the Natural Heritage Trust to help Gosford City Council purchase valuable bushland to complete its Coastal Open Space System.

Senator Hill said "the $1 million grant from the Natural Heritage Trust was a good investment for Australia which will help protect the exceptional natural beauty of the Central Coast.

Senator Hill praised the Council for its vision 17 years ago to develop an extensive open space system to protect the unique biodiversity in the Gosford area, and for its determination to complete this very important acquisition program for the current and future residents of the Central Coast.

Federal Member for Robertson, Jim Lloyd said "I am delighted with this announcement.

"These funds will help the Gosford City Council complete the last stage of its Coastal Open Space System before economic and population pressures become too great.

"At a time when the majority of Councils on the eastern seaboard of New South Wales embarked on pro development planning, often with terrible environmental consequences, Gosford was making a positive commitment to long term environmental planning by taking the opportunity to establish the Coastal Open Space System.

"Since then, the Council has protected over 2,400 hectares from development, and the additional funds announced today will help in the purchase of the remaining 600 hectares."

An audit conducted in 1995 identified 600 hectares of outstanding acquisitions and indicated the urgency of acquiring at least 120 hectares of this land to avoid irreparable damage to sensitive ecosystems.

Senator Hill said "the financial assistance provided by the Natural Heritage Trust will enable the Council to commit to the acquisition of this land and to make significant inroads into the acquisition of the remaining 480 hectares.

"One of the reasons for the Council's success in obtaining this grant is their demonstrated commitment to taking responsibility for the ongoing management of these natural areas in this open space system."

Senator Hill also said "I would particularly like to acknowledge the efforts of the late Alan Strom, Councillor Robert Bell and others who helped lay the foundations of this wonderful model of sustainable development.

"Other Councils around Australia could learn from Gosford's commitment to the sensible balance between economic development and environmental protection displayed by this project."

Further information:
Peter Cosier 08 8237 7920, 0419 693 515

Commonwealth of Australia