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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
6 September 2002
The Mary River Tortoise, Grey Nurse Shark, Coxen's Fig Parrot, Red Goshawk and Brigalow Open Woodlands are among a number of nationally threatened species and ecological communities that stand a better chance of long-term survival after the announcement today of Commonwealth Government funding for Queensland community groups.
The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today announced that four Queensland community groups received a total of $74,649 through the Threatened Species Network Community Grants Program to help protect the State's rich biodiversity. Dr Kemp was represented by the Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone, at a special event at Melbourne Zoo today to announce the Grants.
"The Threatened Species Network Community Grants are a joint initiative of the Howard Government's $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust and the World Wide Fund For Nature which are designed to assist in the fight to save our unique plants and animals," Dr Kemp said.
"A total of 36 projects in urban and rural communities around Australia received funding of over $496,000 in the fifth round of the Threatened Species Network Community Grants. These projects will undertake conservation activities to benefit 51 plant and animal species and five ecological communities listed as nationally threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999," Dr Stone said.
Dr Kemp also said these projects represent a community-level response to broader natural resource management issues and are a valuable way of capacity building for local communities and landholders throughout Queensland.
"For example, Unidive, the University of Queensland underwater club, has received $25,120 to research habitat in southern Queensland for the Grey Nurse Shark. Little is known about the habitat and the ecology of this shark, which is listed as critically endangered on the east coast of Australia with numbers as low as 500 individuals. This project will survey and map habitats and develop protocols to help monitor critical habitats. Surveys such as this are considered essential for the recovery of the species," Dr Kemp said.
"The Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee will use their $15,000 grant to protect a range of threatened species in the riparian rainforests of Gheerulla, Belli and Cedar Creeks in the Maroochy Shire. Surveys in the area have identified species such as the Coxen's Fig Parrot, Mary River Cod, Mary River Tortoise and Red Goshawk. On-ground works to protect these species will include weeding and revegetating habitat corridors linking upland State Forests to rainforest creek flats, as well as the protection of habitat on private and public lands.
"The work of these community groups complements the work of thousands of Natural Heritage Trust projects across the country that have Commonwealth Government support in protecting threatened species through on-ground activities such as feral animal control and habitat restoration."
WWF Australia Chief Executive Officer Dr David Butcher said a significant component in the success of the Threatened Species Network Community Grants was the contribution of local communities around Australia.
"Community involvement in threatened species conservation is crucial to the survival of Australia's unique animals, plants and ecosystems. These grants are a vital step toward encouraging communities to step into the role of custodians of their local environment. The impact of community participation in conservation work cannot be underestimated," Dr Butcher said.
Today's announcement is particularly timely with tomorrow being National Threatened Species Day. This annual awareness-raising event is held on 7 September to commemorate the day that the last Tasmanian Tiger died in captivity in 1936.
A full list of Queensland projects funded through the Natural Heritage Trust Threatened Species Network Community Grants in 2002-03 is attached.
To obtain a copy of the National Threatened Species Day information kit please contact free-call 1800 803 772 or for further information please visit the Environment Australia web site at: www.ea.gov.au/tsd.
Devena Wahlstrom Dr Kemp's office (02) 6277 7640 or 0412 257 334
Rosslyn Beeby WWF (02) 9281 5515 or 0419 520 960