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21 March 1999
Community groups around the country are being given the opportunity to look after their favourite beach to help protect Australia's coastline.
The Federal Government has allocated $2.8 million to help community groups repair and conserve their local coastal and marine environment through the national Coastcare program.
Federal Environment and Heritage Minister Robert Hill says the Coastcare funding builds on the natural affinity we have with our coast.
"The coast is a national icon and we have one of the longest and most beautiful coastlines in the world. But the reality is, many of our coastal waters are polluted and our dunes and beaches are under increasing pressure.
"Coastcare has been one of the Natural Heritage Trust's major success stories. We've already been able to fund hundreds of community groups in a wide range of coastal protection projects.
"Every weekend you'll find community groups out there working to achieve a better coastal environment.
"Weeds are being eradicated, dunes and wetlands are being revegetated and the health of our reefs and marine life are being monitored.
"The community know their local beaches and the problems facing them. They often have worked out a solution and are putting it into place. Through Coastcare we can give them a financial helping hand.
The end result will be healthy habitats, improved water quality and protected marine life."
Senator Hill has called for applications for Coastcare funding in 1999-2000 and released a guide to make applying as straightforward as possible. Applications close Wednesday 30 June 1999.
A Guide to Coastcare Applications 1999-2000 can be obtained from Environment Australia's Community Information Unit on freecall 1800 803 772. It can also be accessed on the Internet at www.environment.gov.au/marine/coastcare
Rod Bruem (Senator Hill's Office) 02 6277 7640 or 0411 128 582
Mark Flanigan (Environment Australia) 02 6274 1917
21 March 1999