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Natural Heritage Trust

Joint Statement by Federal Environment and Heritage Minister Robert Hill and
Queensland Environment, Heritage and Natural Resources Minister Rod Welford

AUSTRALIA'S LARGEST GRASSLAND PARK TO PROTECT ENDANGERED SPECIES


26 March 1999

A rare and endangered grassland is assured of survival in Central Queensland following the purchase of a property near Emerald, which has been earmarked as a national park.

The endangered King Blue Grass, now extinct in southern Queensland, will also be protected on the new 9000 hectare national park, which was purchased using Natural Heritage Trust and Queensland Government funds.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says the purchase of the property, Albinia Downs, is one of several Queensland properties to be added to the National Reserve System with the assistance of the Trust.

"Of the 9000 hectares, about 7000 contain grassland that are so rare in Queensland their long-term survival is in doubt.

"In southern Australia temperate grasslands have all but disappeared and this acquisition will help prevent a similar fate for the Central Queensland Downs.

"Albinia Downs contains several regional ecosystems of grassland, shrubby open forest, grassy woodland and open forest.

"Three of these ecosystems are endangered and four are of environmental concern, making this park of immense ecological value."

In many parts of the State, the composition of grasslands containing King Blue Grass had been drastically changed due to introduced grasses and non-traditional management practices.

"With less than 0.5 per cent of the original distribution of Blue Grass Downs remaining, it is important we act now to conserve such valuable ecological resources."

Queensland Environment and Heritage and Natural Resources Minister, Rod Welford, said the area would be of great scientific interest.

"This purchase demonstrates how conservation partnerships between the State and Commonwealth can work for everyone's benefit," he said.

"We were able to work together and act quickly to ensure protection of a unique area. The Queensland Government will be gazetting this property as a national park as soon as possible."

Contact:
Rod Bruem (Senator Hill's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0411 128 582
Andrew Carroll (Mr Welford's office) 07 3896 3694
26 March 1999

Commonwealth of Australia