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Natural Heritage Trust

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Senator Robert Hill, Federal M inister for the Environm ent Hon. John A nderson MP, Federal M inister for Prim ary Industry and Energy Hon. Di McCauley MLA, Q ueensland M inister for Local G overnm ent and Planning


The H ow ard G overnm ent will invest up to $40 m illion in protecting Cape York Peninsula's outstanding environm ental and heritage values w hile providing new opportunities and greater certainty for people on the Cape and the region's pastoral industry, the Com m onw ealth and Q ueensland Governm ents announced today.

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"The Cape York N atural Heritage Trust Plan delivers on John H ow ard's election com m itm ent to protect the conservation and heritage values of Cape York," Federal Environm ent M inister Robert Hill said.

"It is a Plan that will see the C om m onw ealth and Q ueensland G o v e rn m e n ts

w orking in partnership w ith local governm ent and the Cape's residents to e n su re that the region's values are m aintained.

"The Plan takes into account the inform ation collected during the CYPLUS process."

"The Plan recognises that the m ost appropriate way to achieve best co n serv atio n outcom es is by involving the com m unity and w orking w ith stakeholders rath er than by im posing decisions from Canberra or Brisbane," Q ueensland Local

G overnm ent and Planning M inister Di McCauley said.

"M uch of the Plan will therefore rely on the voluntary participation of pastoralists, Indigenous com m unities and other residents.

"Cape York residents understand better than m ost the environm ental and heritage values of their region. We are therefore confident that the overw helm ing m ajority of people on the Cape will embrace the opportunities that this program w ill

provide," Federal Prim ary Industries and Energy M inister John A nderson said.

P a r l i a m e n t II o u s e C a n Herr a ACT 2 6 0 0

"The Plan also should provide greater security for those that live and w ork on th e Cape and will provide new opportunities for im portant industries like tourism and the pastoral sector."

"C om m unity in volvem ent in the delivery of the Plan will be assisted by the

establishm ent of a Cape York Regional Advisory Panel w hich will provide advice to both G overnm ents on the im plem entation of the Plan and act as an assessm ent panel under the N atural H eritage Trust," Senator Hill said.

"We are delighted that Mr G ordon A rnold and Ms Fran Seagren have accepted the position of C hair and D eputy Chair of the Panel," Mrs McCauley said.

"A range of organisations and individuals representing local g o v ern m en t,

Indigenous com m unities, industry, pastoralists and conservation interests will be invited to serve on the Panel."

Senator Hill said that the Plan was comprehensive and far reaching in its scope.

"Key elem ents of the Plan include up to $23 m illion for a voluntary property

planning process, for the voluntary acquisition of properties that contain the highest conservation values and for w orking w ith Indigenous com m unities to protect environm ental and heritage values on their lands.

"Through the voluntary Property Planning process we hope to ensure that the Cape is m anaged in an ecologically sustainable way and that areas of conservation and cultural significance are protected.

"We will also be m aking available expertise to pastoralists and other leaseholders on how they can im prove the sustainable productivity of their land."

"To oversee the Property Planning process, both G overnm ents will be establishing a small Property Planning Technical G roup which will be chaired by Mr Peter Stanton and include people w ith pastoral and Indigenous land m anagem ent experience."

"To start the process we will be inviting the leaseholders of six properties - M erluna, Lilyvale, R unning Creek, Kalinga, Artem is and Kimba - to participate and we understand that they are prepared to become involved.

"We will also be undertaking a Property Planning process on the K alpow ar

properties w hich were purchased by the Q ueensland G overnm ent for co n serv atio n purposes.

Senator Hill said that an im portant com ponent of the program w ould be the

acquisition of areas of highest conservation value.

"Any such acquisitions will, how ever, be on an entirely voluntary basis - n o

property holder will be forced to sell their land or relinquish their lease.

"Equally im portant will be the support that we will provide to Indigenous

com m unities to assist those com m unities m anage conservation and cultural v alu e s on their land.

"Again, arrangem ents we enter into w ith Aboriginal com m unities will be co­ operative and voluntary."

Senator Hill said that other key elem ents of the plan include additional resources for the Cape York N ational Park and reserve system; funds for heritage site

m anagem ent, support for feral anim al and weeds projects, a land reh ab ilitatio n program and a com m unity grants component.

"We will also be providing nearly $2 million for m easures to help protect the Cape's endangered anim als and plants.

"I am pleased to indicate that we will be im m ediately providing $65,000 for tw o endangered species projects that will increase our know ledge and help protect the G ouldian Finch and the G olden-shouldered Parrot.

"I can also confirm that, through the Plan, the H ow ard G overnm ent will contribute $350,000 tow ards the proposed Cooktow n Interpretative Centre. This will m atch funding already offered by Premier Borbidge for the Centre.

"This is an exciting project w hich will increase the com m unity's u n d erstan d in g of the Cape's unique env iro n m en t and, at the same time, provide a hom e to the

valuable Vera Scarth-Johnson collection of illustrations of the C ape's plants.

"We look forw ard to now m oving towards the rapid im plem entation of the P lan w hich will provide a unique opportunity to sustainably m anage and protect th is im portant region," M inisters said.

For further information:

M att Brown (Senator H ill's office) Claire M unro (Mrs M cCauley's office) 02 6277 7640; 0419 603 515 07 3235 4289; 017 839 653

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