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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
Federal Minister for Forestry and Conservation
Senator Ian Macdonald
Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment
David Llewellyn

2 May 2002

$2.7 Million From The Natural Heritage Trust to Protect Tasmania's Forests

Nearly 9,000 hectares of Tasmania's forests will be permanently protected with funding of $2.7 million from the Commonwealth Government's Natural Heritage Trust, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, the Minister for Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald and the Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment, David Llewellyn, announced today.

The Ministers said the funding will protect high conservation value forests on 41 private properties across the State under the Tasmanian Private Forest Reserve Program.

"The Tasmanian Private Forest Reserve Program aims to protect a total of around 100,000 hectares of forest types and habitats for threatened plants or animals not well-protected on public land, such as the Wedge-Tailed Eagle and the Tasmanian Bettong (a small member of the Kangaroo family)," Dr Kemp said.

The Private Forest Reserve Program forms part of Tasmania's Regional Forest Agreement, under which the Tasmanian and Commonwealth Governments established a comprehensive, adequate and representative forest reserve system. The Regional Forest Agreement (RFAs) struck between the State and Commonwealth Governments in 1997 aim to protect 15 per cent of all the State's forest types.

"By offering incentives to private landholders to protect significant forests and forest habitats, the Private Forest Reserve Program will ensure the long-term conservation of Tasmania's rich biodiversity," Senator Macdonald said.

"Many of these forests occur only - or mainly - on private land, particularly in drier parts of the State such as the Midlands".

The remnants of two Tasmanian forest communities considered endangered due to a substantial loss of their original area will be protected with the funding announced today. Only 3 per cent of the original estimated area of Eucalyptus ovata (black gum) forest and 5 per cent of the wet Eucalyptus viminalis (grassy white gum) forest remain in Tasmania.

The forest habitats of several threatened animals such as the swift parrot and the giant freshwater crayfish, and threatened plants such as the native soybean and South Esk pine will also be secured with today's funding.

The Ministers commended private landholders for their outstanding dedication and support in helping to conserve Tasmania's unique forests and wildlife.

"It is obvious that Tasmanians have a strong commitment to caring for their land and can see the benefits of this Program which offers both management assistance and a financial incentive to participate," Minister Llewellyn said.

On signing a covenant, landholders receive a certificate acknowledging their contribution, a copy of the covenant agreement and the Tasmanian Bushcare toolkit.

At today's announcement, Minister Llewellyn presented a certificate to Jane Allwright, a landowner who has placed a conservation covenant on 234 hectares of forest. She and husband Chris manage the property "Tarella" at Dysart, where they grow a range of crops including poppies, peas, barley, wheat and seed potatoes.

The protected forest at "Tarella" includes a rare community of old-growth grassy white gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) and the covenant has also secured protection for a vulnerable species, a herb-like plant called knawel.

Since January 2002, the Commonwealth has approved funding under the Private Forest Reserve Program to the following regions:

Media contacts:
Senator Macdonald's office Kelli Gulberti (02) 6277 7520
Dr Kemp's office Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Minister Llewellyn's office Andrea Davie (03) 6233 2305 or 0419 873 219

Fact Sheet

The Regional Forest Agreement and the Private Forest Reserve Program

What is the Regional Forest Agreement?

The signing of the Regional Forest Agreement (RFA), between the Prime Minister and the Premier of Tasmania on 8 November 1997, marked the beginning of the Private Forest Reserve Program.

The RFA established a framework for the management and use of Tasmanian forests. This framework seeks to implement effective forest conservation and management and sustainable industry practices.

The Regional Forest Agreement aims to provide certainty for conservation of environment and heritage values through the establishment of a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system.

The Private Forest Reserve Program was established to complement the Public Reserve system, as many of the forests requiring protection are only found on private land. The Program also aims to protect forests that are habitat to threatened plants or animals.

The Program is guided by a strategic plan that identifies priorities for protecting around 100,000 hectares of private forest and is managed by the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment.

How much has been spent?

The Commonwealth will provide $30 million to Tasmania for the Private Forest Reserve Program. Of this amount, $10 million is already invested in a Tasmanian Trust Fund. A further $20 million is available from Tasmania's share of the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) for specific approved proposals. To date, Commonwealth Ministers have approved almost $8 million from the Natural Heritage Trust, to protect over 23,000 ha of forest.

How does the program work?

The Program uses a range of mechanisms and incentives to achieve its targets. These are detailed below:

What are the forest types being protected?

Where can I get more information?

The RFA Private Forest Reserve Program
GPO Box 44A
Hobart TAS 7001
Ph (03) 6233 2400
Fx (03) 6233 2457
Web site

Commonwealth of Australia