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New CD to boost River Murray community awareness.

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Joint Media Release Minister for the Environment and Heritage Dr David Kemp & Federal Member for Barker Patrick Secker MP

31 July 2003


New CD to Boost River Murray Community Awareness

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today launched a CD-ROM promoting natural resource management in the Lower Murray region.

Dr Kemp and local Federal Member for Barker, Patrick Secker, visited Unity College in Murray Bridge, where students from Year 6 to Year 12 will use the CD as an integral part of the curriculum. The school is one of many in South Australia where subjects like biology and environment and society focus on the health of the River Murray.

The Resource and Learning CD is an information resource produced by the Mannum to Wellington Local Action Planning Committee and funded under the Howard Government's $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust program.

The CD was the brainchild of a former Unity College teacher, Ian Walton, who used $5500 in Trust seed funding to leverage voluntary help from a wide range of community experts in IT, graphics and science. Development of the CD began in November last year and production has just been completed.

"This is a fantastic resource that will promote natural resource management by raising school and community awareness on the condition of the local environment, encouraging student involvement through interactive classroom and field activities, and providing useful contacts to help local community groups plan natural resource management activities," Dr Kemp said.

"The CD contains information on water quality, irrigation, ecological health, community involvement, and useful links and resources. It will help not just students, but all groups who are working to restore the health of the Murray River.

"Community involvement is essential to improving the health of the River Murray and its wetlands, and the Howard Government's Natural Heritage Trust is providing millions of dollars to help local groups take action. To date, the Howard Government has injected more than $365 million of Trust funding into the Murray Darling Basin, with more than $100 million spent restoring the Murray River in South

Australia alone.

"This area of the river in the Mannum to Wellington region provides much of Adelaide's water, so it is vital that we do our best to protect water quality," Mr Secker said.

"Wetlands in this region also have high conservation value. Land clearing and drainage over the past century have taken their toll and now only 10% of the region's original wetlands remain.

"The wetlands act as a natural water filter to protect the river's health and provide breeding areas and habitat for native wildlife.

"A lot of good work has already been done by the Mannum to Wellington LAP group to improve the river's health including revegetation, wetlands management and the development of training programs.

"By educating local school children and the wider community about natural resource management, it will complement the work already underway and boost our chances of delivering real and long-term results in protecting the river and restoring the wetlands and their wildlife habitats."