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

Japan-Australia Shorebird Cooperation

31 July 1997

The conservation of sites across Australia which are vital feeding and resting areas for migratory shorebirds has received funding of $170 000 from the Howard Government.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says Australia has a strong commitment to developing the East Asian Australasian Shorebird Reserve Network, an initiative first discussed at a workshop organised by the governments of Japan and Australia.

Senator Hill, in Tokyo for the Japan-Australia Ministerial Council meeting, has announced the funding and called for more sites in Australia to be nominated for inclusion in the regional network.

"For species such as migratory shorebirds which regularly fly thousands of kilometres across international boundaries it is of paramount importance that all range countries participate in conservation efforts.

"The aim of the East Asian Australasian Shorebird Reserve Network is to ensure the major wetlands and other sites visited by tens of thousands of shorebirds which migrate between New Zealand and Alaska are well managed.

"So far nine of the network's 19 recognised sites are in Australia.

"The funding from the Howard Government will help protect network sites at Moreton Bay in Queensland, the Hunter estuary in New South Wales, the Coorong catchment in South Australia, Corner Inlet in Victoria and Parry Lagoon in Western Australia.

"Species such as the Pacific Golden Plover and the Grey-tailed Tattler depend on mudflats, tidal areas and other wetlands along their 12 000 kilometre route, and another 200 sites are thought to be essential for the network to be fully effective.

"I will approach the State and Territory governments in the coming months to encourage the nomination of more sites in Australia to expand our participation."

The concept of a shorebird reserve network in the region grew from a workshop held in Kushiro, Japan, in 1994 under the auspices of a bilateral migratory bird agreement between Japan and Australia, known as JAMBA.

Senator Hill has launched a poster produced by Environment Australia which promotes migratory bird conservation and is printed in English, Japanese and Mandarin.

Matt Brown, (Senator Hill) 06 277 7640; 0419 693 515
Bill Phillips, (Environment Australia) 06 250 0777

Commonwealth of Australia