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

22 December 1999

$3 MILLION BID TO CONTROL ACID SULFATE SOILS


The Howard Government will provide more than $3 million to target acid sulfate soils - one of Australia's most challenging environmental problems.

Environment Minister Robert Hill said that the funding would be provided from the $50 million allocated by the government towards the implementation of Australia's Oceans Policy.

"The environmental effect of coastal acid sulfate soils is a major concern, with research indicating that habitat degradation and loss of biodiversity are the most significant impacts," Senator Hill said.

"Under the new Coastal Acid Sulfate Soils Program (CASSP), the Commonwealth will be supporting on-ground projects that address acid sulfate soil hot spots.

"We will be particularly focusing on projects that demonstrate a range of options available to the community and governments, in handling areas which are prone to damage," Senator Hill said.

"In Australia, the most extensive occurrences of acid sulfate soils are found along the eastern and northern coastline due to agricultural, residential and tourism development. Increased exposure of acid sulfate soils has led to a reduction in inshore water quality.

"The Coastal Acid Sulfate Soils Program encourages proponents to form partnerships with other key stakeholders, industry and local and state government agencies in their undertakings to improve the protection of our marine environments.

The CASSP is consistent with the aims of the National Strategy for the Management of Coastal Acid Sulfate Soils, released in August 1999. The Strategy aims to provide a comprehensive approach to the management and use of acid sulfate soils.

Copies of the Coastal Acid Sulfate Soils Program Guide to Project Applications are available from Environment Australia's Community Information Unit on toll free 1800 803 772 or at http://environment.gov.au/marine/frameset/oceans/fs_ocean_main.html

Media Contacts:
Rod Bruem (Minister Hill's Office) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
Kathy Tricolas (Environment Australia) 6274 1015

Commonwealth of Australia