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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

S.A. Stormwater Wetlands a National Model


October 27, 1996
(139/96)

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has opened an innovative project in Salisbury, South Australia, which is creating wetlands using stormwater run-off.

Senator Hill says the Green Fields Wetlands, developed by the City of Salisbury, set an example for other local governments across Australia to manage and filter stormwater and also form suitable habitat for water birds and other wildlife.

'Wetlands, whether natural or created for a specific purpose, perform important functions including erosion control, water storage and purification, and storm protection.

"During Australia's 'Year of Wetlands' in 1996, the community has been encouraged to understand the benefits of marshes, mangroves and other wetland types, and how they support birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and countless plant species.

"The chain of constructed ponds and wetlands that the Green Fields Wetlands are part of, demonstrates the way of the future for treating run-off from urban areas while producing widespread associated benefits.

"I would like to see a greater application of this technology across the country as conserving water quality becomes a more urgent issue in the coming years.

"With the establishment of the Natural Heritage Trust, one of its elements, the National Rivercare Initiative, would fund a pilot stormwater management project and low cost water re-use projects in regional areas.

"Through the Trust, the National Wetlands Program would also be boosted by $8 million over four years, with funds allocated to encourage the community, government and private sectors to work together to develop 'best practice' management for wetland sites.

"To further guide Australia's efforts, the Commonwealth Wetlands Policy, which was released by the Environment Department for public comment at the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Conference in March, will soon be finalised."

As part of the final event for National Water Week, Senator Hill has also presented a cheque for $8 400 from the Federal Government's Waterwatch Australia program to the City of Salisbury Waterwatch Group.

"This funding will allow the group to provide feedback to the local council on the success of the Green Fields Wetlands as the members measure the health of the water which has passed through the wetlands network."

The Waterwatch Australia program promotes community involvement in water quality monitoring and is run by the Wetlands, Waterways and Waterbirds Unit in the Federal Environment Department.

Contact: Matt Brown (Senator Hill) 0419 693 515

Commonwealth of Australia