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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE


Hon Robert Hill
Commonwealth Minister for Environment Hon Iain Evans
S.A.Minister for Environment and Heritage

Sunday, October 15 2000


NATURAL HERITAGE TRUST HELPS BUY BACK S.A. BUSHLAND

Rare and threatened plant species in South Australia will be protected through the purchase of a property with the help of the Federal Government's $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill today announced the Trust had provided $65,300 under the National Reserve System program to help the private group Bushland Conservation Pty Ltd buy 'Rockleigh'.

'Rockleigh' is a 121 hectare block of remnant bushland, 25 km south west of Mannum. The block represents one of the few quality remnant woodlands in the Mount Lofty bioregion.

"Through this purchase, 'Rockleigh' becomes part of the National Reserve System which aims to protect a comprehensive, adequate and representative sample of all types of ecological communities for future generations," Senator Hill said.

"This is another example of how the Natural Heritage Trust is maximising conservation outcomes through working with private conservation groups."

Bushland Conservation Pty Ltd, a community-based group, will manage the property under a heritage agreement signed with the South Australian government.

South Australian Environment and Heritage Minister Iain Evans said the 'Rockleigh' agreement was the 1200th property to be placed under the state's Heritage Agreement Scheme and represented an important milestone for the protection of South Australia's native vegetation.

"Most natural values of the property -- the plants, animals and landforms -- were threatened from clearing, grazing, pest species and erosion but now these natural values will be protected for future generations," Mr. Evans said.

'Rockleigh' contains a mix of woodland species, including Mallee Box Woodland, which is endemic to South Australia and is only moderately conserved, and 27 district rare species and one district threatened species.

"The opportunity to acquire quality examples of the remnant vegetation in the area is rare and this acquisition brings a significant example of the natural vegetation and associated plants and animals to the protected area network," Senator Hill said.

"'Rockleigh', as part of the National Reserve System, is an important contribution towards preserving Australia's unique biological diversity. I congratulate Bushland Conservation on its work and encourage other community groups to help conserve our nation's natural resources."

Media Contacts:
Senator Hill - Belinda Huppatz 0419 258 364
Minister Evans - Jon Parrington 0419 825 156
John Smyth - Bushland Conservation (08) 8847 2152

Commonwealth of Australia