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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

20 April 2002

$1.766 Million for Biodiversity Conservation in Scotia Sanctuary

Australia's National Reserve System receives a boost today with the announcement of $1.766 million in Commonwealth funding for the purchase of Scotia Sanctuary, 200kms south of Broken Hill in western New South Wales.

The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said the funding from the National Reserve System Program, a program of the Natural Heritage Trust, demonstrates the Federal Government's commitment to establishing a system of protected areas across the country.

"The National Reserve System Program is the most significant investment in protected areas ever made by an Australian Government. We recognise the importance of protecting these areas to conserve Australia's biodiversity," Dr Kemp said.

The Federal Member for Wentworth, Peter King, represented the Commonwealth today when Australian Wildlife Conservancy announced the purchase of Scotia Sanctuary from the embattled Earth Sanctuaries Limited.

Australian Wildlife Conservancy is a non-profit environment organisation which owns and runs 11 sanctuaries across Australia, covering more than 575,000 hectares.

"I am delighted to see such commitment from private organisations like Australian Wildlife Conservancy to helping protect and conserve Australia's unique environment. It is encouraging to see individuals and businesses increasingly playing a part in this huge and vital task.

"Scotia Sanctuary has the potential to make a significant contribution to the protection and enhancement of important components of Australia's biodiversity," Dr Kemp said.

"Scotia maintains important populations of threatened species such as bilbies, numbats and bridled nail tailed wallabies.

"Investment in it ensures a significant, feral-free environment that can contribute to the national conservation effort and demonstrate the value of establishing and maintaining such habitats.

"Funding from the National Reserve System Program will ensure the sanctuary continues to be managed to protect its special values.

"The Government's commitment to fund non-government organisations to purchase and manage land of high conservation value such as the Scotia Sanctuary demonstrates the concept and practice of private sector involvement in biodiversity conservation," Dr Kemp said.

This funding comes from the Private Land Component of the National Reserve System Program which aims to increase the level of representation of the National Reserve System through the contributions of community groups, industry bodies and local governments. Since its establishment in 1998-1999, 39 private land projects totalling 581,000 hectares have received a total of $15 million in support through the National Reserve System Program.

"We can only hope to achieve a sustainable Australia when every individual realises that they have a role to play. Partnerships like this demonstrate that more and more Australians are realising this," Dr Kemp said.

Media contact:
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia