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Media Release
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray

7 March 2002

$600,000 Partnership Protects Tasmania's Woodstock Reserve


Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone, today announced the signing of conservation covenants over the 126 hectare Woodstock Lagoon, near Launceston, which will permanently protect an important freshwater wetland in the agricultural area of northern Tasmania.

Dr Stone said the Protected Areas on Private Land project will receive $616 600 in total from the Commonwealth under the Natural Heritage Trust's National Reserve System Program.

"Tasmania is a pretty unique place, with flora, fauna and land types found no where else in Australia", Dr Stone said.

"This project brings together Government, industry, environmental organisations and private landholders to protect those irreplaceable lands for our children and grandchildren".

"The Federal Government believes that it is just as important to protect the conservation values of private land, such as this property at Longford, as it is to protect national parks and other reserves".

"On this property alone, the agreement will protect precious wetland habitats housing vegetation communities and animal species, such as the Green and Gold Frog and Blue Pin Cushion".

"The project involves landowners from across the State, who can choose to negotiate their Tasmanian Conservation Covenant with the organisation of their choice, either the Tasmanian Government, the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association or the Australian Bush Heritage Fund.

"Under these flexible arrangements, there has been a significant increase in landholders' knowledge of the options available to protect the environment on their land.

"The project has benefits for all. While the two families here at Woodstock have done their bit to protect these superb wetlands and their species into the future, they have in return received professional environmental advice and financial assistance in areas such as weed management."

Dr Stone said 21 covenants have been signed under the project, and a further 45 landholders are soon to have conservation covenants.

"In total 2000 hectares will be conserved, including 200 hectares of wetlands, 70 hectares of riparian vegetation and 60 hectares of heathland. The program complements the $30 million Private Forest Reserve Program that has secured nearly 16,000 hectares of endangered forest communities across Tasmania".

Contact:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468
Thursday March 7, 2002

Commonwealth of Australia