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

26 April 2006

Australian Government funding helps conserve unique outback station

An arid outback sheep station with vast saltbush and native grassland plains, wetlands and rugged rocky outcrops will be conserved for future generations by its addition to Australia’s National Reserve System.

Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, announced today that the Australian Government had provided $1.6 million to help buy Boolcoomatta Station, a 63,000 hectare pastoral property in the far north-east of South Australia near Broken Hill.

The property would be owned and managed by the Australian Bush Heritage Fund and had been purchased in partnership with the Nature Foundation of South Australia.

“Boolcoomatta’s former owners, the Badger family, have taken great care of this fantastic arid environment,” Senator Campbell said.

“In selling Boolcoomatta, they have entrusted Bush Heritage with extensive woodlands of mulga, and river red gum, freshwater wetlands and more than 35 species of saltbush. Boolcoomatta also provides key habitat for threatened species, such as the plains wanderer and thick-billed grasswren.”

Bush Heritage is a private land conservation business operating as an independent, non-profit organisation for the purchase and protection of land of outstanding conservation value.

It is one of a several private and public sector organisations that manages land under Australia’s National Reserve System, a collaborative nation-wide network of reserves especially set up to protect the nation’s unique natural environment for current and future generations. The Australian Government works with State, Territory and local governments, Indigenous communities, private landholders and conservation groups to buy and manage land for future generations.

“This purchase highlights the growing role of the private sector in protecting our environment by contributing to our National Reserve System. It is only by governments working together with conservation groups and the private sector that we can hope to achieve our conservation goals, ” Senator Campbell said.

Australian Bush Heritage Fund Chief Executive Officer Doug Humann said Boolcoomatta was tremendously important because it protected ecosystems and land types that were poorly reserved elsewhere.

“Bush Heritage works to build a more representative National Reserve System and Boolcoomatta will do that in spades,” Mr Humann said.

“Native grasslands are among the most depleted ecosystems in eastern Australia and the fauna that live in them have markedly declined. Boolcoomatta, with its vast plains, is the first reserve in South Australia to protect the plains-wanderer, a nationally vulnerable grassland bird.

“Rare plants such as the remarkable purple wood with its vivid purple timber are also found on Boolcoomatta, but are at risk in the region. Control of feral animals such as goats, rabbits and foxes together with the removal of stock will enhance the living conditions for both species.”

Mr Humann said Bush Heritage would work co-operatively with Boolcoomatta’s neighbours, particularly in relation to the control of weeds and feral animals and if necessary, the management of over-grazing by kangaroos.

The Nature Foundation of South Australia will have ongoing input into the management of Boolcoomatta, particularly in the area of scientific research.

Duncan MacKenzie, Executive Director of the Nature Foundation SA said his organisation envisaged running a range of biodiversity projects that would provide an understanding of how the region worked.

Australian Government funds for the purchase of Boolcoomatta came through the National Reserve System Programme, part of the Natural Heritage Trust.

“Since 1997, the Australian Government has invested more than $80 million to build the National Reserve System, adding more than 20 million hectares to the nation’s protected land areas,” Senator Campbell said.

“As the National Reserve System Programme approaches its tenth anniversary, Boolcoomatta brings to 271 the number of landholdings added to the National Reserve System.

“More than 80 million hectares - 10 per cent of Australia’s continent - is now protected under the National Reserve System,” he said.

Media Contact:
Marianne McCabe (Minister's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0400 389 580
Alexandra de Blas (Australian Bush Heritage Fund) 0427 545 834
Duncan MacKenzie (Nature Foundation SA) 0419 857 256

Commonwealth of Australia