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Joint Media Release
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Alex Somlyay MP
Federal Member for Fairfax
20 November 2006
Noosa could soon gain Queensland's first listing as an internationally-recognised biosphere reserve.
Speaking in Noosa today, Federal Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, said he was supporting an application by the Noosa Shire Council to have the area placed on the UNESCO list.
"I welcome the opportunity to sign a memorandum of support to work with the council and local environmental groups to help them gain a successful listing for Noosa," Mr Hunt said.
"There are only 13 sites in Australia included on the 'Man and the Biosphere Programme' - this would be the first in Queensland. This category is only one step down from 'World Heritage' listing.
"The Noosa region contains areas of enormous environmental significance. Gaining a listing as a biosphere reserve would send a powerful message towards preserving the local environment.
"I want to pay particular tribute to the local Federal Member for Fairfax, Alex Somlyay, who has provided support to the council and environmental groups for this application."
Mr Hunt said the application for the biosphere listing was due to be lodged with UNESCO in Paris by next February and a decision was expected in the middle of 2007.
Mr Somlyay said he was delighted to be among the signatories to the memorandum of support, along with Noosa Shire Mayor, Bob Abbot, Noosa Parks Association President, Dr Michael Gloster, and Noosa Biosphere Association Secretary, Tony Haslam.
"Noosa is one of the environmental jewels of Australia and we want to keep it that way," Mr Somlyay said.
"I am particularly pleased that Mr Hunt has thrown his support behind this important application.
"Signing the memorandum demonstrates the strong cooperation between the Commonwealth, council and in particular, local environmental groups.
"Working together on this application sends a positive signal to both UNESCO and the community about how serious we are about this application and our local environment," Mr Somlyay said.
John Deller (Mr Hunt's office) on 0400 496 596
Roz Bergman (Mr Somlyay's office) on 0417 612 061