The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
2 February 2004
Environment and Heritage Minister Dr David Kemp has celebrated World Wetlands Day 2004 with the announcement of $350 000 from the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust for wetland research and management and the signing of an initiative to manage and protect the important Murray River wetland at Banrock Station in South Australia.
World Wetlands Day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the international Ramsar Convention to preserve wetlands on 2 February 1971.
The theme for World Wetlands Day 2004 is Water for Wetlands - Water for Life, celebrating the importance of wetlands as habitat and as key indicators of a healthy environment.
The $350,000 will be used to provide national management guidance to wetland managers across Australia, and to improve understanding of our nationally and internationally important wetlands.
Australia currently has 64 Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.
Dr Kemp said the Banrock Station Wetland Complex - located on the River Murray floodplain in South Australia - is an excellent example of the 'wise' use concept promoted through the Ramsar Convention.
The site includes the Banrock Station Wine and Wetland Centre, which highlights the compatibility of wine production and wetland conservation.
Dr Kemp said the Australian Government has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the site managers, Hardy Wine Company, the South Australian Government, Wetland Care Australia, Landcare Australia and the Bookmark Biosphere community.
The Australian Government has provided $10,000 in Natural Heritage Trust funding to establish a comprehensive plan for the management of the site.
Dr Kemp congratulated the Hardy Wine Company for its commitment to the wetland.
For information on World Wetlands Day activities in your state, visit www.deh.gov.au/water/wetlands/day/index.html or contact your local wetland or environment centre.