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

20 September 1999

CLEARER FUTURE FOR DARWIN HARBOUR


The management of water quality in Darwin Harbour and its adjoining waterways will be substantially improved using funding from the Federal Government's Natural Heritage Trust.

Federal Environment and Heritage Minister Robert Hill has approved $80,000 from the Trust's Coastal and Marine Planning Program for the development of a strategic plan to reduce potential and existing pressures on the harbour from urban development and other sources.

The two-year project will be conducted by the NT Department of Lands, Planning and Environment, in cooperation with local government and users of the harbour, including industry.

Senator Hill's announcement coincides with the annual conference of the Royal Australian Planning Institute, which begins in Darwin today, and with national Earth Alive Biodiversity Month.

"Planning projects underpin the future wise use and protection of Australia's coastal and marine environments, including marine biodiversity, and complement the on-ground work being conducted through other Natural Heritage Trust programs," Senator Hill said.

"The Department of Lands, Planning and Environment will develop the first Strategic Plan for Beneficial Uses of Darwin Harbour, to coordinate water quality management in the harbour and its adjoining catchment.

"The strategic plan will aim to set regional and local objectives, including standards on acceptable pollution levels, and promote and enforce them in guidelines, licences and management plans.

"Extensive consultation with the community, industry and government agencies will be an integral part of the project.

"In the cooperative spirit of the Trust, the Federal Government funding of $80,000 will be complemented by financial and in-kind contributions from the Northern Territory government, local government and industry totalling an additional $77,000."

A pilot stormwater management project being conducted by Darwin City Council at the Winnellie industrial area will form part of the strategic plan. Senator Hill announced the pilot in March.

The $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust for the environment is a Federal Government initiative being delivered in partnership with State and Territory governments.

The Coastal and Marine Planning Program is part of the Trust's Coasts and Clean Seas initiative, contributing to the conservation, sustainable use and repair of Australia's coastal and marine environments.

Contact:
Rod Bruem (Senator Hill's office ) 02 6277 7640
Leigh West (Environment Australia) 02 6274 1368

Commonwealth of Australia