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Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
11 May 2005
The Howard Government is providing $2.5 million in the coming year for the Indigenous Protected Areas programme, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Mr Greg Hunt, said today.
"This funding reaffirms the Government's commitment to support Indigenous efforts to protect and conserve their land and heritage," Mr Hunt said.
"We're helping Indigenous Australians manage their lands to protect the natural and cultural features in accordance with internationally recognised guidelines. This programme benefits all Australians."
The IPA program is part of the $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust, the largest ever commitment by an Australian Government to environmental management and sustainable agriculture.
Over eight years, the IPA program has added 13.8 million hectares of unique ecosystems to the National Reserve System.
Mr Hunt said that each of the areas that will receive funding under the IPA program have unique land management issues to address.
"These areas are facing a wide range of management issues like introduced and invasive species such as Mimosa pigra, Yellow Crazy Ants and Cane Toads," Mr Hunt said.
"At the same time the landowners' activities help to maintain spiritual, cultural and natural values of the land by the promotion of customary practices such as fire management."
The benefits of these projects are much broader than biodiversity and heritage management. Indigenous communities are linking their IPA activities to training and employment outcomes and working with the private sector to develop economic opportunities in remote areas, Mr Hunt said.
For further information on Indigenous Protected Areas, visit www.deh.gov.au/indigenous/ipa
Fiona Murphy (Mr Hunt's office) 0423 577 045