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The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
5 December 2001
Up to 300 new projects will protect Australia's coasts with around $4.3m in the latest round of Commonwealth-State funding, the Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, announced today.
Celebrating Coastcare Week at a Melbourne beach with marathon swimmer Tammy Van Wisse, Dr Kemp called on all Australians to help conserve our coastline and its unique biodiversity.
"The Coastcare program is one of the many continuing success stories of the $2.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust," Dr Kemp said. "It's a great example of Federal, State and Territory Governments working cooperatively to maintain the beauty of much of our coastline and to tackle the problems posed by pollution, introduced marine pests and the impacts of recreational and commercial use.
"More importantly, it highlights the role played by volunteers - ordinary Australians investing their time in conserving and protecting their local environments.
"Since 1996, more than 60,000 people and nearly 2,000 community groups have tackled a range of projects including weed removal, dune and headland protection, wetland restoration, the construction of boardwalks and viewing platforms, cultural awareness and marine and intertidal zone awareness. Coastcare estimates that volunteers in these projects have built around 186 kilometres of fencing and 67 kilometres of paths, cleared 1500 hectares of weeds and planted 610,000 plants."
Dr Kemp said the Federal Government was committed to the Coastcare program under plans to streamline the Natural Heritage Trust.
"The objectives of Coastcare will be more closely integrated with other Natural Heritage Trust programs such as Bushcare, Landcare and Rivercare to deliver on-ground results on a regional basis," he said.
National Coastcare Week is targeting small boat users, encouraging greater awareness of the problems posed by litter, pollution and introduced marine pests, and the significance of marine reserves in ensuring that marine habitats can regenerate and grow. The theme of the week is Afloat and Aware.
"Small boat users are able to make a huge contribution to the health of our coastline and marine environment," Dr Kemp said. "And there is the satisfaction of being part of a national effort to conserve and protect the environment for future generations as well as maximising the benefits of economic growth."
Dr Kemp will announce details of Coastcare funding for 2002-03 with his State and Territory counterparts shortly.
Catherine Job 02 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400