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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

3 July 2002

Australian Winery and Park Protector Honoured in Wetland Awards

A South Australian winery, Banrock Station, and an Australian wetland conservationist, Dr Max Finlayson, have won two of five prestigious international awards under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp announced today.

Banrock Station has won one of the three Wetland Conservation Awards for 2002, and Dr Finlayson has been honoured with one of two Recognition of Excellence awards.

"I am delighted that Australians have been honoured with these prestigious awards," Dr Kemp said. "Given that the awards were open to more than 130 countries, this is an exceptional effort."

Dr Max Finlayson won the Ramsar Recognition of Excellence Award and is the Director of the Environmental Research Institute (ERISS). ERISS is the research arm of the Supervising Scientist's Organisation, the Commonwealth agency responsible for overseeing environmental protection at the Ranger and Jabiluka mines adjacent to the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory.

"This is a positive reflection on the standards and measures taken by the Supervising Scientist into sensitive wetlands management," Dr Kemp said. "These standards are recognised as world's best practice and this is great recognition for this work.

"Dr Finlayson has been a leader in supporting and contributing to the Ramsar Convention. He has shown inspired leadership in the development of protocols and guidelines, which are now used as standards throughout the world. He is particularly well recognised in wetland inventory, assessment and monitoring which are key functions of the Supervising Scientist.

"The Banrock Station Initiative of the BRL Hardy Wine Company was honoured with the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award and Evian Special Prize for its remarkable example of a private sector company taking a wide range of measures to ensure the conservation and wise use of a wetland. Located on the slopes of a floodplain, the winery is operated as a fully integrated model for sustainable development, using minimal water and electricity and engaging in recycling.

"Banrock Station is also actively promoting education and public awareness through its Wine and Wetland Centre, which encourages visitors to learn more about the wetland and the work to rehabilitate the site. Banrock also invests a fixed percentage of its revenue to conserving wetlands in Australia and abroad. The BRL Hardy Wine Company has indicated that it will use the US $10,000 cash prize to help support and advance the programmes of the Ramsar Convention, especially in developing countries.

"The Ramsar Awards will be presented at the 8th Conference of the Parties in Valencia, Spain, from 18-26 November 2002. They are only presented every three years.

"Banrock Station and Dr Max Finlayson are highly deserving candidates and I congratulate them on their initiative, drive and commitment to protecting our wetlands for future generations and in placing Australia at the forefront of wetland conservation," Dr Kemp said.

The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards were established in 1996 by Resolution VI.18 of the 6th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) to honour the contributions of individuals, organisations, and governments to conservation and wise use of wetlands.

Media Contact:
Catherine Job 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia