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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

22 November 2006

Plan to expand Great Sandy National Park


The Australian Government is considering a plan that could see the outstanding conservation estate of Noosa Shire expanded further.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, said the Commonwealth was considering a funding application from Noosa Shire Council to purchase 163 hectares of land to be placed on the National Reserve System (NRS)*.

Mr Hunt this week inspected the Riley property, located only minutes north of the township of Tewantin.

"The property includes significant wetlands and would provide important habitats for migratory birds moving between Ramsar sites north and south of this area," Mr Hunt said.

"It is adjacent to Lake Cooroibah and Cooroibah Creek which are listed as part of the Wetland of State significance and which are declared fish habitat areas. The land is home to a range of important plant and wildlife species.

"Significantly, the property borders the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park. The purchase of this land would enable the Riley property to be protected as part of the national reserve upon successful listing as part of the NRS."

Mr Hunt said the council had sought funding assistance from the Federal Government to purchase the land for specific inclusion on the NRS. The funding application is now being considered by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Ian Campbell.

Local Member for Fairfax, said he supported the purchase of the Riley property to place the land on the national estate.

"I have been urging Canberra to back this proposal because of the conservation significance of this property," Mr Somlyay said.

"There is strong local community support for this purchase and I have welcomed the opportunity to work as part of the strong effort behind this application. Purchasing this land would not only protect our local environment, but it would also enable the expansion of the Great Sandy National Park for the benefit of all Australia."

*The National Reserve System is a Howard Government program that helps governments, non-government bodies and landholders to purchase, establish and manage a national system of reserves in Australia. The NRS supports the protection of exceptional parcels of land where examples of our unique biodiversity are conserved for current and future generations. More information can be found at: www.deh.gov.au/parks/nrs/

Media Contacts:
John Deller (Mr Hunt's office) on 0400 496 596
Roz Bergman (Mr Somlyay's office) on 0417 612 061

Commonwealth of Australia