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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
Peter McGauran MP
Victorian Minister for Agriculture
Bob Cameron MP
Victorian Minister for Environment and Water
John Thwaites MP

6 March 2006

$1.3M to save the symbol of Melbourne 2006

The battle to save from extinction the real-life version of Karak, the mascot of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, has been boosted with $1.3 million to protect the South-eastern Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo.

The three-year habitat conservation project was officially launched today by the Australian and Victorian Governments on the arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay in Casterton.

The project has been funded through the Natural Heritage Trust, and will be complemented by contributions from the State Government.

Australian Ministers for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran, and the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said the work was vital to the future survival of the species.

“With less than 1000 of these birds remaining in the wild, this important work will safeguard one of our unique species – now recognised around the world thanks to Karak, the symbol of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games,” Minister McGauran said.

“The recovery project aims to encourage landholders’ participation in a new competitive tender system that funds worthwhile environmental projects on private land, based on proposals from the landholders themselves.

“Through this, advice will be available on management practices to support cockatoo habitat – for example, replanting cleared land or fencing remnant habitat, including paddock trees the birds need for feeding and breeding,” Minister McGauran said.

Victorian Minister for the Environment, John Thwaites, said the main threats to the cockatoo’s long-term survival were the loss of the large hollow trees that provide nesting opportunities, the clearing of Buloke trees and extensive hot fires in stringybark forests.

“For sustenance, this striking bird relies on good seed crops in Brown Stringybark, Desert Stringybark and the Buloke trees that are now few and far between in southern parts of Victoria and South Australia,” Mr Thwaites said.

“The recovery project will protect around 3000 hectares of Stringybark woodland and Buloke woodland each year for its duration.

“This will in turn benefit other woodland fauna in southern parts of our state and in South Australia, like the Heath Mouse, Bush Stone-curlew, Masked Owl and Pale Sun Moth.”

Victorian Minister for Agriculture, Bob Cameron, said the project was expected to double the number of farmers in target regions that receive grants for activities that protect or enhance native vegetation.

“This would be a great result both for the environment and for landholders, and it shows that we can all play a part in keeping our land healthy and sustainable,” Mr Cameron said.

“The tender process will ensure that the Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo has access to feeding and nesting sites by protecting the highest quality habitat, including young native trees as well as hollowed-out old-growth trees in paddocks.”

The Ministers said the project was a co-operative effort and thanked a wide range of supporters including natural resource management groups, landholders, communities, and non-government agencies.

The project is being managed by Wimmera Catchment Management Authority (CMA) with support from Glenelg Hopkins CMA, the Southeast South Australia NRM Board, the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo Recovery Team and the Australian and Victorian Governments.

Landholders can get more information about the tender system by contacting Rob Moir on (03) 5382 1544 or visiting For more information about the Natural Heritage Trust visit

Media Contacts:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Russ Neal (Minister McGauran's office)(02) 6277 7520 or 0413 601 303
Geoff Fraser (Minister Thwaites's office) 0407 360 256
Campbel Giles (Minister Cameron's office) (03) 9651 5799 or 0407 972 900

© Commonwealth of Australia