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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Judy Jackson
Tasmanian Minister for Environment and Planning

25 November 2005

100 Tasmanians sign up to conserve private land

Hobart farmers from Barilla Bay today became the 100th Tasmanians to sign a voluntary covenant to conserve plants and animals on their land for future generations.

At a joint ceremony hosted by the Australian and Tasmanian Governments, local farmers Tony and Bronwen Byrne agreed to protect 36 hectares of mudflats and saltmarsh which provide important habitat for local and migratory shorebirds.

To encourage more Tasmanians to conserve flora and fauna on their own land, the Australian and Tasmanian Governments announced additional funding of $637,000.

The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said the partnership with private landholders was already paying dividends in conserving Tasmania’s unique environment.

“This partnership with private landholders is vital. Many of our rare plants and animals are found only on private land - especially in coastal areas, the Midlands and Eastern Tasmania,” Senator Campbell said.

“It’s fantastic that 100 Tasmanians have now protected 3500 hectares of their own land by signing up to voluntary covenants. This additional funding will help more landowners to manage their properties to ensure the survival of important habitats for threatened species.”

The voluntary conservation agreements are registered on the Land Title and carry through to any new owners of the land to ensure its ongoing protection. In return, landowners are supported in managing weeds, grazing, fire, water quality and threatened species.

The Tasmanian Minister for Environment and Planning, Judy Jackson, said Tony and Bronwyn Byrne were setting an example in best practice sustainable farm management.

“Protecting habitat does not need to affect landowners’ ability to earn an income from their properties. Tony and Bronwyn will still run their successful oyster growing and farming business,” Mrs Jackson said.

“They’ll be protecting the important natural areas while continuing to farm the productive areas of their land.

“Under these voluntary agreements, saltmarsh, grasslands, wetlands, sand dune vegetation, healthlands and forest have been protected across Tasmania, including habitat for the Swift Parrot, Giant Freshwater Crayfish and New Holland Mouse,” Mrs Jackson said.

Tasmanian Senator Guy Barnett represented Senator Campbell at a ceremony today and presented Tony and Bronwen Byrne and eight other landowners with certificates of appreciation from the Prime Minister.

The voluntary conservation agreements are administered under Tasmania’s Protected Areas on Private Land Programme, a partnership between the Australian and Tasmanian Governments, the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association and the Tasmanian Land Conservancy.

Since 1997, the Australian Government has provided more than $1.4 million for Tasmania’s voluntary conservation agreements through the National Heritage Trust. The private land programme is helping build Australia’s National Reserve System, a network of exceptional parcels of land which preserve for the future examples of all aspects of Australia’s unique environment.

A breakdown of contributions for Protected Areas on Private Land Programme is below.

Media contact:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's Office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Sue Bailey (Mrs Jackson's Office) 03 6233 2305

Breakdown of funding contributions for Protected Areas on Private Land Programme:

Australian Government: $316,000
Tasmanian Government: $237,000
Tasmanian Land Conservancy: $52,000
Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers: $32,000
Total: $637,000 funding

© Commonwealth of Australia