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

23 December 1999

CLEANER WATERWAYS FOR NORTHERN TERRITORY


Stormwater discharge into Melville Island's Snake Bay will be reduced with funding totalling $161,000 from the Natural Heritage Trust's Clean Seas program.

The project will upgrade the Milikapiti community's drainage system by constructing new drains and upgrading existing ones. The drainage structures will reduce erosion and enable high sediment loads to be captured before entering the bay.

The project is one of three in the Northern Territory to share in a total of $320,780 Trust funding announced today by Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill.

"The Milikapiti community aims to reduce the large amounts of pollutants currently entering Snake Bay from stormwater drains and eroding vacant land," Senator Hill said.

"This project is a pleasing example of the community working in partnership with the government to protect and restore our marine environment."

Other projects funded today will address water quality issues, marine biodiversity and the impact of coastal development on Darwin Harbour and its adjoining waterways.

"Through the Coasts and Cleans Seas program, the Federal government is supporting a range of projects that aim to improve the quality of our waterways and estuaries," Senator Hill said.

"The Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries has received $80,000 to support a major monitoring program assessing Darwin Harbour's susceptibility to invasions of aquatic pests and the capacity for marina waters to recover from chemical treatments used to eradicate these pests.

"A total of 22 sites in four marinas and other strategic locations will be monitored for nutrients, temperature, salinity and other elements. Scuba divers will also collect samples to measure biodiversity and the presence of exotic species.

"The monitoring program will provide both an effective early warning system and vital environmental information to use in countering future threats and impacts of harmful invasive species such as the black striped mussel.

"With the assistance of $79,780, the Department of Land Planning and Environment will establish a community based monitoring system to identify and understand the impacts of coastal development on mangrove ecosystems. This project also aims to raise public awareness of the value of mangrove resources.

"Under these projects the Northern Territories unique coastal and marine environments will be protected and restored for future generations."

This latest round of Coasts and Clean Seas funding brings to a total of $407, 630 dedicated to clean seas, coastal monitoring and marine species protection projects in the Northern Territory.

In the cooperative spirit of the Trust, the Federal Government's 1999-2000 contribution will be boosted by $1.12 million funding from State and local governments and the community.

A list of funded projects is attached.

Media contacts:
Rod Bruem (Senator Hill's Office) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
Carolynne Yates (NT Coasts and Clean Seas Coordinator) 08 8999 4507
Conall O'Connell (Environment Australia) 02 6274 1015

Commonwealth of Australia