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

Major Funding Boost for Queensland's Wet Tropics

30 April 1997

Efforts by the community, land holders and 11 local councils to conserve north Queensland's spectacular landscapes and waterways have received a major boost.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has announced the allocation of $722,000 for ongoing environment projects under the Wet Tropics Tree Planting Scheme.

Senator Hill says the scheme draws on the joint resources and expertise of local councils from Townsville to Cooktown and is a model for managing natural resources on a regional scale.

"Today's funding announcement once again confirms the Howard Government's commitment to regional Australia and to our nation's World Heritage-listed areas.

"The wet tropics region covers many ecosystems unique to Australia, including two World Heritage-listed areas, and has highly productive agricultural, forestry, fishing and tourism industries.

"The scheme demonstrates how cooperative efforts between the community, land holders and governments can achieve positive outcomes for the environment on a large scale, on both public and private land.

"Through this joint program, a team of experts is employed to oversee projects and help develop management plans to protect and enhance north Queensland's natural resources.

"The projects involve local communities in restoring rainforest, rebuilding wildlife corridors, controlling weeds, repairing wetlands and river banks and monitoring water quality.

"This regional approach is consistent with the Howard Government's vision for community-based vegetation activities which will be funded through the Natural Heritage Trust."

The Wet Tropics Tree Planting Scheme is administered by the North Queensland Joint Board and operates across an area the size of Victoria, covering the Shires of Cook, Douglas, Cairns City, Cardwell, Johnstone, Hinchinbrook, Herberton, Eacham, Atherton, Mareeba and Thuringowa.

Contact: Matt Brown, Senator Hill, 0419 693 515
Andrew Campbell, Environment Australia, 06 250 0501; 250 0766

Commonwealth of Australia