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Joint Media Release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
Kay Hull MP
Federal Member for Riverina
23 November 2004
A site that includes significant wetlands near Hay in NSW will be conserved with $85,000 in funding from the Australian Government for the Toogimbie Indigenous Protected Area (IPA).
Mr Greg Hunt, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage, congratulated the Nari Nari Tribal Council for its efforts in rehabilitating, protecting and conserving Toogimbie IPA.
"A key focus has been on improving the health of the wetlands within the Toogimbie IPA. The IPA includes significant remnant River Red Gum and Lignum wetlands that are not found in any conservation areas in the National Reserve System. The start of inundation work at Toogimbie has already seen some regrowth of Lignum," Mr Hunt said.
Toogimbie was declared an IPA in March this year. Mr Hunt said the funding will allow the finalisation of the draft plan of management for Toogimbie IPA and the continuation of conservation works including farm waste removal, weed eradication, pest control, revegetation and the reestablishment of flooding patterns. There are also plans to develop ecotourism projects.
Federal Member for Riverina, Kay Hull MP, said the wetlands were important to support endangered and vulnerable plant and animal species.
"Culturally, the traditional life of Aboriginal people in the region revolves around the wetlands-totem animals, medicine plants, cultural practices, hunting and gathering, and burials," Mrs Hull said.
"The landforms-high ground and floodplain channelling-can easily be seen today, reminding the present generations of their connections to this land and their history. And we look forward to working with Nari Nari Tribal Council to promote wetland conservation in the Toogimbie Indigenous Protected Area."
Mr Hunt said some of the future projects planned for Toogimbie include continued work on the wetlands to repair levy banks, the planting of seedlings, land rehabilitation, and the construction of three bird hides for visitors to observe the 55 identified native bird species that rely on the wetlands.
The Indigenous Protected Areas program is a part of the $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust, the largest ever commitment by an Australian Government to environmental management and sustainable agriculture.
"Indigenous landowners are being supported through the IPA program to manage their lands and protect the natural and cultural features in accordance with internationally recognised guidelines for the benefit of all Australians. Over eight years, the IPA program has added 13.8 million hectares of unique ecosystems to the National Reserve System," Mr Hunt said.
For further information on Indigenous Protected Areas, visit www.deh.gov.au/indigenous/ipa.