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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
The Hon Peter McGauran MP
Australian Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation
Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald

19 October 2005

Key biodiversity projects awarded over $20 million in funding

The Australian Government has awarded almost $20.5 million over the next three years to 28 large-scale environmental projects across Australia that will help significantly improve the sustainable management of our natural resources.

Funding from the Regional Competitive Component of the Australian Government’s $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust was announced today by Australian Government Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell; Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran; and Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Senator Ian Macdonald.

Senator Campbell said the aim of the program was to support major multi-regional or cross-border projects that achieve on-ground results.

"The reality is, natural resource management challenges don’t stop at regional or state borders. We need to take a cross-jurisdictional approach to projects that otherwise may not be identified as a high priority by individual regions," Senator Campbell said.

"The projects represent carefully-targeted investments, such as the $1.707 million cross-regional recovery plan for South East Queensland’s rainforest.

"Around 60 per cent of south-east Queensland rainforest has been lost through extensive clearing. This project will take a landscape approach to recovery, allowing regional bodies to work together to implement on-ground actions across the entire bioregion," he said.

The plan encompasses 21 threatened rainforest ecosystems, and will address threats to 67 threatened flora species and 40 threatened fauna species.

Senator Campbell said some projects funded under the Regional Competitive Component support efforts to protect threatened species, such as the recovery plan for the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo and the protection and enhancement of one of its primary food sources, the endangered Buloke Ecological Communities. The project has been awarded $1.3 million funding.

"This is a highly-integrated project throughout western Victoria and south-east South Australia, which takes a holistic approach to the protection of a threatened species," he said.

Mr McGauran said a number of projects focus on feral pests, which contribute to land degradation and impact on the long-term survival of many precious native species.

"Fox predation is one of the most significant threats to biodiversity in Australia. A NSW project that will see private land managers becoming involved in established fox control programs at 29 priority sites has been awarded $832,950 in funding."

The Regional Competitive Component also supports activities that protect coastal zones and the marine environment. Australia’s coastal catchments are often underlain by soils that contain iron sulphide minerals and organic matter. While these materials are benign when they are maintained below the water table, they can degrade when exposed to air through drainage or excavation, generating water pollution and affecting the health of aquatic organisms.

"Disturbance in coastal soils is an emerging issue in the South West and South Coast of Western Australia. This $770,000 project will provide a better understanding of these processes and improve management capacity through the development of training and decision support tools," Mr McGauran said.

Senator Macdonald highlighted a $1.575 million project that will decrease the impact of bitou bush on threatened coastal plan communities at 25 key sites along the NSW coastline.

"Bitou bush is listed as a Weed of National Significance and is one of the greatest threats to coastal ecosystems, infesting approximately 80 per cent of the NSW coastal zone.

"This invasive scourge has put 150 plant species, two plant populations and nine endangered ecological communities at risk of extinction," Senator Macdonald said.

A $600,000 project in South Australia will see regional ecologists working with Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal Landcare officers and relevant landholders to bring together cutting edge environment science with Aboriginal knowledge and skills.

"Working closely with Traditional Owners, regional ecologists will develop and implement programs for the conservation, management and restoration of ecological systems across Aboriginal Lands in South Australia," Senator Macdonald said.

Under the Regional Competitive Component, regional natural resource management bodies around Australia submitted proposals for assessment by Joint Commonwealth-State Steering Committees in each State and Territory. The projects were then prioritised by the Natural Heritage Trust Advisory Committee, which brings together some of Australia's most respected scientific and natural resource management experts.

The Ministers also announced an extra $10 million funding under the National Competitive Component for 16 innovative environmental projects that will significantly improve the sustainable management of our land, water and wildlife.

A full list of Regional Competitive Component projects for Round 3 is available below.

Media contacts: Renae Stoikos (Minister Campbell) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Russ Neal (Minister McGauran) 02 6277 7520 or 0413 601 303
David Crisafulli (Minister Macdonald) 02 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433

Natural Heritage Trust
Regional Competitive Component Projects - Round 3

Project description and outcome Contact




Project : enhance aquatic ecosystems in coastal NSW by restoring stream connectivity, improving water quality and rehabilitating fish habitats.
Outcomes : rehabilitate native fish populations and endangered species such as the eastern freshwater cod, Macquarie perch and Australian grayling.

Mr Chris Presland
Southern Rivers CMA (NSW)
T: 0413 274 882


Project : decrease the impact of the invasion of bitou bush on threatened coastal plant communities at priority sites along the NSW coastline.
Outcome : assist the recovery of at least 11 threatened species, two endangered populations and four endangered ecological communities.

Mr Chris Presland
Southern Rivers CMA (NSW)
T: 0413 274 882


Project : establish long-term fox control on private lands and improve the co-ordination of monitoring programs at 28 priority sites across five NRM regions.
Outcome : recovery of species threatened by fox predation.

Mr Bill Dixon
Hawkesbury-Nepean CMA
T: 02 4587 5510





Project : involve landholders in the South Eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo recovery plan, and protect and enhance the endangered Buloke ecological communities.
Outcome : contribute to the protection and conservation of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos and the vegetation communities that form their habitat.

Mr Dean Robertson
Wimmera CMA
T: 03 5382 1544


Project : develop a native fish strategy for Victorian coastal rivers that will prioritise issues and threats to the declining freshwater fish populations.
Outcome : a co-ordinated, long-term management approach to ensure healthier native fish populations.

Mr Greg Peters
Corangamite CMA
T: 03 5232 9100


Project : increase the surveillance capacity for the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot, and improve the management of its winter habitat.
Outcomes : increase in parrot numbers. The project is also expected to benefit other native species that use the same habitats.

Mr Don Arnold
Glenelg Hopkins CMA
T: 03 5571 2526


Project : develop a consistent national monitoring system, database and volunteer manual for the Mallee Fowl.
Outcome: contribute to national Mallee Fowl recovery plans.

Dr Richard Perry
Mallee CMA
T: 03 5051 4375


Project: develop and implement a management plan for beach-nesting shorebirds, using the Hooded Plover in Victoria as a flagship. It will focus on minimising the human impact on their breeding cycle.
Outcome: improved survival rates for Hooded Plover eggs and chicks. It will also provide knowledge for protecting other species.

Dr Michael Weston
Birds Australia
T: 03 9882 2622





Project: employment of two ecologists to develop and implement programs for the conservation, management and restoration of ecological systems across Aboriginal Lands in SA.
Outcome: help aboriginal communities manage their local natural biodiversity and improve the ecological health in the region.

Ms Lorraine Rosenberg
Alinytjara Wilurara
T: 08 8357 3881


Project: develop protocols for the co-operative management of shared surface water and ground water resources between western Victoria and South Australia, using the Mosquito Creek Catchment as a pilot study area.
Outcomes: protection of key environmental assets in the Mosquito Creek catchment including Bool and Hacks Lagoon Ramsar wetlands; conserve vital habitat for nationally threatened species.

Ms Ann Aldersey
South East Catchment Water Management Board
T: 08 8724 6016


Project: engage Aboriginal communities in natural resource management throughout SA by establishing an agreed process, building relationships and undertaking relevant training.
Outcome: provide Aboriginal communities with the tools to actively participate in on-ground activities, and contribute to NRM regional planning.

Ms Lorraine Rosenberg
Alinytjara Wilurara
T: 08 8357 3881


Project: develop a long-term strategy to control starlings in the Western Eyre Peninsula region.
Outcome: more sustainable agriculture, biodiversity protection and improved water conservation; and prevent spread of this pest species.

Ms Wendy Briggs-Hutchison
Eyre Peninsula NRM Board
T: 08 8626 1108





Project: Minimise and control the impact of Phytopthoracinnamomi on healthy bush, heathlands, woodlands and forests at risk of the disease.
Outcome: protect the state’s most important habitats from dieback infections.

Mrs Kristina Fleming
South Coast WA
T: 08 9892 8537


Project: manage nutrient release and acid sulfate soils in coastal catchments by establishing demonstration sites that explore drainage options and soil ameliorants; establishing a monitoring and evaluation network; providing training and extension materials; and developing decision support tools.
Outcome: contribute to community action to reduce the destructive impact of acid sulfate soils on riverine and estuarine ecologies and habitats in the area.

Mr Adam Lillicrap
Department of Agriculture (WA)
T: 08 9892 8518


Project: standardise community-driven sea turtle monitoring initiatives throughout Australia by developing education materials and establishing nation-wide monitoring standards.
Outcome: help conserve threatened turtles by sharing knowledge between community groups around Australia.

Ms Raquel Carter
Rangelands NRM Co-ordinating Group Inc
T: 08 9949 1676


Project: engage traditional owners of Yamatji country in natural resource management decision making processes and on-ground activities in the Gascoyne Murchison and Mid West regions of WA.
Outcome: increase the capacity for traditional owners to preserve the cultural and natural heritage values of the region.

Mr Alan Bradley
Northern Agricultural Catchments Council
T: 08 9964 5978


Project: increase understanding of the endangered Dibbler’s habitat requirements; establish a new population through the release of captive-bred animals; protect and monitor existing populations; and survey for undiscovered populations.
Outcome: improve the conservation status of the endangered Dibbler.

Mrs Kristina Fleming
South Coast WA
T: 08 9892 8537


Project: conduct trials at 20 sites to investigate different mallee crop management regimes and their effect on crop yields and economics.
Outcomes: better integration of oil mallee production with annual cropping systems; reduction in saline groundwater discharge; and improvement of farm sustainability.

Ms Cathy Lyons
Avon Catchment Council
T: 08 9690 2267





Project: implement 12 key actions within the South East Queensland Rainforest Recovery Plan, including management incentives, stewardship payments, landholder education and strategic research.
Outcome: improve the condition and protection of over 4000 hectares of endangered rainforest within the southeast Queensland bioregion.

Dr Deborah Scott
Burnett-Mary Regional Group
T: 07 4132 8324


Project: develop a natural/cultural heritage management and mapping system for traditional owners in the Wet Tropics World Heritage area.
Outcome: involve indigenous communities in the conservation of Aboriginal cultural places and values.

Dr Allan Dale
Far North Queensland NRM Board
T: 07 4061 6477


Project: create a program to manage Tilapia and other pest fishes in North East Queensland, including development of a management plan and rapid response plan for new infestations; and control and eradication trials.
Outcomes: reduce the number of new infestations of pest fish; raise community awareness of pest fish threats; provide long-term control measures to actively combat pest species.

Mr Damien Burrows
Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research
T: 07 4781 4262


Project: reduce and eradicate weed infestations and feral animal populations across four regions in Queensland, South Australia and Northern Territory.
Outcome: protect native plant and animal communities within weed free areas and help prevent the spread of weeds into and from surrounding regions.

M Leanne Kohler
Desert Channels Queensland Inc
T: 07 4652 7851


Project: develop a Tropical Rangelands biodiversity management and condition assessment toolkit for use by traditional owners, graziers and savannah guides.
Outcome: assist stakeholders to become self-sufficient in assessing biodiversity condition.

Mr Bob Frazer
Burdekin Dry Tropics Board
T: 07 4724 3544


Project: explore the existence of indigenous indicators and test their relationship with conventional indicators of catchment health.
Outcome: development of complementary tools to assess natural resource health in Southern Queensland, which will result in greater indigenous involvement.

Mr Phil McCullough
Condamine Alliance
T: 07 4620 0101





Project: implement 12 cross-regional recovery plans for the most critical priority nationally listed threatened species under the EPBC Act. The project will cover all three Tasmanian NRM regions.
Outcome: recovery of the Orange-bellied Parrot, native fish, eagles, quolls, grasslands, ferns and other threatened species.

Ms Vanessa Elwell-Gavins
NRM South
T: 03 6234 2248


Project: assess the condition of rocky reef communities which have been identified as a key marine habitat; monitor changes in rocky reef biodiversity; assess impacts of fishing; and develop management strategies.
Outcome: better management of rocky reefs and increased knowledge of threats such as introduced species, fishing pressures, climate change and disturbances to marine health.

Mr David McCormack
Cradle Coast NRM Region
T: 03 6431 6285


Project: eradicate rice grass by environmentally acceptable spraying in five targeted Tasmanian estuaries.
Outcomes: help protect endangered native species; contribute to healthier and more biologically diverse estuarine systems.

Mr David McCormack
Cradle Coast NRM Region
T: 03 6431 6285





Project: involve landholders, indigenous rangers and school groups in the biological control of Mimosa pigra, one of Australia’s 20 worst weeds.
Outcome: reduce level of infestation across the territory

Dr Blaire Grace
NT NRM Region
T: 08 8999 2129

$446,000* (inc $148,000 from ‘Defeating the Weeds Menace’ program




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