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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

21 April 2006

Protecting our coastal environment and industry from acid sulfate soils

Australia’s precious coastal environment and vital coastal industries will be better protected thanks to a valuable new resource that will manage acid sulfate soils.

Acid sulfate soils can kill plants and animals, damage buildings and infrastructure and contaminate water and food such as oysters.

Australian Government Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran, today launched a web-based mapping and resource tool to manage acid sulfate soils.

“The web-based tool for coastal managers will be vital in helping to better manage coastal planning and development,” Senator Campbell said.

“The systematic mapping pinpoints the danger zones for acid sulfate soils, showing where to avoid development and where soils will need special treatment,” he said.

Acid sulfate soils occur naturally in both coastal and inland Australia, and are harmless when undisturbed but react with oxygen in the air and form sulfuric acid when excavated or drained for development.

The environmental and economic impacts of acid sulfate soils are huge, and include:

“This resource will help us protect areas of national environmental significance, like the Great Barrier Reef, and industries such as marine fisheries and the sugar and dairy industries,” Mr McGauran said.

“This is an especially important resource in view of the increasing development and population pressures in coastal Australia – it will help us live sustainably on our coasts,” he said.

To look at the mapping and web based tools go to

Media contact:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Russ Neal (Mr McGauran) 02 6277 7520 or 0413 601 303

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