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120 endangered species projects announced.

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Media Release


Senator the Hon Robert Hill

Leader of the Government in the Senate

Minister for the Environment





The Federal Environment. Minister, Senator Robert Hill today announced 120 Endangered Species Proj ects across Australia will receive $6.5 million as part of the first round of Natural Heritage Trust grants in 1998/9.


Senator Hill said “these projects will help Australia reverse the tide of extinctions that have plagued Australia since European settlement.


“Currently Australia has 1429 species that are endangered or vulnerable to extinction.


“On average, an additional 42 species are being added to the list each year.” Senator Hill said the Howard government is committed to reversing this trend.


“13 projects worth almost $1 million will help the conservation of endangered birds such as the Orange Bellied Parrot, the Gouldian Finch and Swift Parrot.


“53 projects worth $1.7 million will help the conservation of endangered plants.


Senator Hill said that this years grants are unique for the level of resources being provided for the conservation of our most threatened arid land mammals.


Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate of any country in the world, and many of our 54 threatened mammals live in the arid and semi arid regions of Australia.


“22 projects worth $1.3 million will help in conservation of endangered mammals.


These mammals such as Bilbies, Mala, Bridled Nailtailed Wallabies and Quolls became endangered as a result of land clearing and predation and competition with feral animals such as foxes, cats and goats.


“The challenge is to remove these threats from the native habitat and help expand existing populations and restore populations of species that once existed there”, Senator Hill said.


Four projects are being funded for in excess of $550,000 in the Northern Territory, Western Australian and New South Wales to fence out feral animals from natural habitat which will enable the reintroduction and protection of threatened native animals.


Senator Hill said “These four projects demonstrate the valuable benefits of the partnership approach of the Natural Heritage Trust in helping to conserve our precious natural heritage.


“One project is being undertaken by the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission, another by a local community group in Western Australia, the third by the Broken Hill City Council and the fourth by Earth Sanctuaries Inc., an Australian company which has been set up for the purpose of saving endangered species.”


A key priority for the Government in 1998-99 has been to move from the initial planning phase to more active participation of the broader community in management of on-ground recovery actions.


Community groups to receive support this year include:


* Au stralian Koala Hospital Association for a threatened species display in the. Hunter Region,


* Queensland Ornithological Society for their work to conserve the Eastern Bristlebird,


* Tree Kangaroo and Mammal Group to prepare and implement a recovery plan for the spotted tailed quoll,


* National Parks Foundation of South Australia for the control of the root rot fungus Phytophthora on Kangaroo Island,


* Mossman Cane Protection and Productivity Board to build nestboxes to encourage owls onto sugarcane farm s;


* La Trobe University to prepare a recovery plan for the endangered pincushion lily;


* Threatened Bird Network to promote community action to conserve threatened birds across Australia, and the


* Australian Network for Plant Conservation for promote community action to conserve threatened plants across Australia.


Without community involvement in, and ownership of the recovery process, there is little chance that the number of species at risk of extinction nationally will reduce or that the rate at wh ich species are becoming endangered will slow.


The community-based networks funded by the program will play an enhanced role in developing and implementing on-ground community action to recover threatened species.


The projects announced today are in addition to the new $1 million initiative for the Threatened Species Network that was announced on Threatened Species Day last Monday.


For further information: Peter Cosier 0419 693 811