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Tony Burke meets Port Macquarie Landcare volunteers.

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The Hon. Tony Burke MP

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Tony Burke meets Port Macquarie Landcare volunteers

25 August 2009 DAFF09/307B

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke today met with Port Macquarie Landcare volunteers and congratulated them on the success of local Landcare projects which are helping to protect threatened species.

Mr Burke visited the Landcare Community Nursery and Blair Reserve Landcare project with representatives of the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority, Hastings Landcare and Port Macquarie Landcare group.

The Rudd Government last year provided more than $45,370 under Caring for our Country to Port Macquarie Landcare, in partnership with Hastings Council, for work at the nursery and the reserve.

Volunteers propagate around 20,000 native plants each year at the nursery, which are then used by local Landcare groups to restore urban sites and revegetate land, including following the floods.

The nursery includes a seed collection, drying and storage area, growing rooms and a heated year-round plant production ‘igloo’.

The plants are used at the Blair Reserve Landcare project, among other sites, to replace invasive pest plants with indigenous native species.

The 3.13 hectare reserve is a key wildlife corridor allowing animals to move around the area and includes three threatened species.

More than 15,000 plants have already been added to the reserve, through the work of local volunteers who have already contributed nearly 4,000 hours of their time.

Mr Burke said the Port Macquarie project was another example of the work being carried out by Landcare volunteers and community groups across Australia.

“Through the Landcare movement, these volunteers and community groups are doing invaluable work to repair environmental damage to local farms and other land,” Mr Burke said.

“I congratulate all those involved in these Port Macquarie projects - they are making a major contribution to the local environment and the community.

“The volunteers told me today about the value they leveraged through community involvement, which delivers a big return for a small investment.

“Landcare has been a great success since it was introduced by the Hawke Government 20 years ago.

“The volunteers that I met today in Port Macquarie will help to ensure that success continues.”