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

FUNDING BOOST FOR WORLD HERITAGE IN QUEENSLAND


10 May 1998
(48/98QLD)

The Howard government has committed $2.5 million to projects designed to protect and manage Queensland's World Heritage areas.

Environment Minister Robert Hill has announced a range of projects in the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves, Fraser Island, Riversleigh Fossil Mammal Site and Wet Tropics World Heritage areas.

Senator Hill says the Coalition has delivered significant funding increases to Australia's eight State-managed World Heritage properties.

"With the help of the Natural Heritage Trust, Australia is now in a better position than ever to enhance the protection and management of Queenslands world heritage properties.

"The projects announced today will deliver $2.5 million to World Heritage properties in Queensland from a total of $7.3 million from the 1997/98 budget.

"This week's Federal Budget will again show our commitment with total funding levels for the eight State-managed World Heritage properties remaining significantly above what was provided in Labor's final year in office."

Fraser Island will receive $950,000 from the Commonwealth. Two years ago, under the previous ALP government, Fraser Island received only $317,150.

Riversleigh is to receive $305,000 in 1997/98 (up from $125,000 under the ALP) and the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves in Southern Queensland will receive $532,000 (up from $87,500 under the ALP).

Senator Hill has recently announced an additional $695,000 funding for projects in the Wet Tropics of north Queensland.

Senator Hill says the projects will improve visitor facilities as well as protect and rehabilitate World Heritage properties.

"The projects will help protect the internationally significant conservation values of these unique regions.

"They will also help improve visitor access in an ecologically sustainable way and deliver a major boost to eco-tourism in Queensland.

"Fraser Island, one of our most loved and heavily used World Heritage areas, is to receive $495,10 000 to improve visitor facilities at some of the most popular visitor areas on the island, including Lake Garawongera, Wanggoolba Creek and Indian Head.

"A further $140 000 will be spent on improving visitor information about the World Heritage values of the island. This will include supporting programs under which rangers liaise with visitors, and make presentations at key sites and explain arrangements to protect the World Heritage values of the Island. A total of $300 000 is also being provided to construct and maintain roads on the island and upgrade walking tracks for better visitor access."

"Part of the $532 000 funding for the Queensland section of the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves (CERRA) is an urgent project that will protect the habitat of the endangered Eastern bristlebird. Surveys show that bristlebird populations in CERRA have been rapidly declining and that remaining populations are only just viable. This project will involve fencing off habitat and constructing firebreaks to protect the birds.

"Funds will also be used to improved visitor facilities in the area, including redeveloping walking tracks at the popular areas of Lamington, Springbook, Main Range and Mt Barney National Parks, particularly tracks suitable for less experienced walkers. New interpretive displays will be developed at Lamington National Park, one of the most visited reserves in Queensland, to promote the World Heritage values of the area and their management.

"At Riversleigh, one of the Australian Fossil Mammal World Heritage areas, funding has been provided by the Commonwealth to acquire additional land rich with fossils and improve visitor amenities and access. The main interpretive site at Riversleigh is to be substantially redeveloped and improved to provide better information for visitors - an urgent priority for this site."

"Funding is also being provided to support important ongoing scientific research that will provide a better understanding of the evolution of Australian vertebrates. Scientists are hoping to make discoveries that will help us to manage our wildlife more effectively.

"The Wet Tropics World Heritage area has also received funds to upgrade its walking tracks, to rehabilitate rainforest areas in the Palmerston-South Johnstone area, treat weed-infested areas, remove feral pigs and develop a code of best practice for urban water supplies taken from the area."

The funding for Queensland's world heritage properties is part of $7.3 million of Commonwealth funding for the management of eight world heritage areas. Senator Hill today announced funding for a wide range of projects in the Wet Tropics, Shark Bay, Tasmanian Wilderness, Fraser Island, Willandra Lakes, Lord Howe Island, Riversleigh and Naracoorte Fossil sites, and the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves.

Media contact - Matt Brown on 02 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515.

May 10, 1998
(48/98QLD)

Commonwealth of Australia