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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 July 2003

Environment Portfolio Celebrates NAIDOC Week


Goats, donkeys, rabbits, camels and other feral species have pushed many native species to the brink over the last 100 years.

Indigenous communities who have volunteered to have their properties involved in the National Reserve System are now showing their neighbours just how to bring back country that has been in under siege from feral animals and weeds for generations.

Biodiversity protection is amongst the top priorities for the Indigenous protected areas who are amongst those celebrating NAIDOC Week.

Indigenous Australians have a central role to play in protecting the environment for future generations, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone, said today.

Launching the Environment and Heritage portfolio's celebrations for National Aboriginal Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week, Dr Stone said Environment Australia's NAIDOC Program is promoting awareness of Indigenous land management programs and cultural heritage - cross-cultural workshops and Indigenous performances and displays to reflect this year's national theme "Our Children Our Future".

"From the joint management of Uluru Kata Tjuta, Kakadu and Booderee National Parks to the establishment of Indigenous Protected Areas, the Environment portfolio aims to ensure that Indigenous land management expertise benefits the entire community, and that we can all learn from it," Dr Stone said.

"Recognition and acceptance has been growing throughout Australia in the past decade that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) peoples have particular rights and obligations in relation to their heritage.

"The Department of the Environment and Heritage is committed to managing important linkages with the Indigenous community in the protection of Australia's natural and cultural heritage," Dr Stone said. The Department is implementing its approach to working with the Indigenous community through their engagement in the Natural Heritage Trust as well as other initiatives and services dealing with Indigenous issues across the portfolio."

Programs that recognise the importance of Indigenous engagement in natural resource management include:

Contact:
Andrew Cox (Dr Stone's office) - 0408 057 226

Commonwealth of Australia