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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

19 August 2005

Protection for threatened forests in Sydney region


The long-term protection of two forest ecological communities in the Sydney region is enhanced, with Australian Government listing today of both the Blue Gum High Forest of the Sydney Basin Bioregion and the Turpentine-Ironbark Forest of the Sydney Basin Bioregion as critically endangered ecological communities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said listing the Blue Gum High Forest and the Turpentine-Ironbark Forest would help stop their further decline and protect them for future generations.

"Since European settlement we have lost over 95 per cent of both these forest ecological communities. The remaining patches of forest are threatened by clearing, fragmentation or weed invasion," Senator Campbell said.

"Listing provides protection, conservation and management to ensure the long-term survival of these f orests, as well as the wildlife that depends on them, and I congratulate the Parramatta City Council, Dundas Valley Bushcare Groups and the Ryde Hunter's Hill Flora and Fauna Preservation Society Inc., among other groups, for their excellent work in restoring bushland remnants and wildlife corridors in the Sydney region that contain these forests.

"With over $1 million in support from the Australian Government's $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust since 1996, these community groups are getting results and I hope their conservation efforts will inspire other groups to work towards rehabilitating their local patches of forest.

"Two hundred years of land use, including vegetation clearing, stock use and weed invasion has severely affected the Blue Gum High Forest and the Turpentine-Ironbark Forest. While listing under the EPBC Act still allows land managers to continue the use of their land, it also provides an opportunity for us all to work together to improve the condition of the forest.

"Priority conservation activities include preventing further clearing and fragmentation of these ecological communities, identifying and fencing the best quality forest remnants, and managing weeds," Senator Campbell said.

Under the EPBC Act listed ecological communities are considered to be a matter of National Environmental Significance. Any activity likely to have a significant impact on the Blue Gum High Forest and Turpentine-Ironbark Forest may need to be assessed and approved by the Minister, unless exemptions relating to continuing use apply.

For more information on Australia's threatened ecological communities contact the Department of the Environment and Heritage's Community Information Unit on freecall 1800 803 772 or visit www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/index.html

Media contact:
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia