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Joint Media Release
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
Greg Hunt MP
Senator for the Northern Territory
Senator Nigel Scullion

8 September 2005

$250,000 NHT funding to tackle weeds on Christmas Island

Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Christmas Island National Park and Senator Nigel Scullion, Senator for the Northern Territory, today announced $250,000 in Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) funding to control the spread of invasive weeds on Christmas Island.

"These funds will be used to immediately tackle the 37 most invasive weeds species that are threatening the Island's pristine rainforest and deciduous forests," Mr Hunt said.

"Nearly 60% of all plants on the Island are exotic - non-native species - and can cause extensive biodiversity loss. These funds are being delivered as a matter of urgency and work on this program will begin in October.

"I know Nigel understands the extent of the invasive weed problem from his visits to the Island and I thank him for his ongoing support and commitment to addressing this problem through the delivery of this NHT funding."

Senator Scullion said the weed control program would deliver benefits for the Island.

"This program will employ up to eight local people and involve a mixture of hand poisoning and some limited mechanical spraying," Senator Scullion said.

"This is very labour intensive work but it is necessary as many of the areas affected by the weeds are in isolated clearings. These are difficult to access due to boulders and pinnacles left after mining and form isolated pockets that attack surrounding forests on many fronts.

"Left unchecked, invasive weeds can eventually displace all native vegetation."

Mr Hunt said the weed program was a joint effort by Parks Australia North, the Shire of Christmas Island and Phosphate Resources Ltd.

Media enquiries:
Fiona Murphy 0423 577 045 (Mr Hunt's office)
Joe Nyhan (08) 8948 3555/0408 288 567 (Senator Scullion's office)

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