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


10 May 1998

The Howard Government has approved more than $7 million worth of projects to provide better management and protection for Australia's pre-eminent natural assets.

Environment Minister Robert Hill says $7.3 million will be spent on projects designed to enhance the protection, conservation and presentation of eight world heritage areas.

The projects are in the Wet Tropics, Tasmanian Wilderness, Shark Bay, Fraser Island, Willandra Lakes, Lord Howe Island, Riversleigh and Naracoorte Fossil Sites and the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves of NSW and Queensland.

Senator Hill says the Coalition is spending significantly more on management and protection of these areas than the former Labor government.

"Overall, the Coalition is providing $15.8 million for the management and protection of these eight world heritage properties from the 1997/98 Budget. In its final year in office the ALP provided only $10.3 million for the protection of these properties.

"These projects will protect the internationally significant conservation values of these properties, rehabilitate degraded areas and improve visitor facilities and walking tracks.

"This week's Federal Budget will continue our strong commitment to these world heritage areas with funding levels above Labor's final year in office."

Senator Hill says it's not only money that counts when it comes to protecting world heritage areas.

"Unlike the former government, we have worked well with the States and local communities to implement management plans and strategies for these unique areas.

"These projects are a further demonstration of the benefits of that cooperative approach."

Senator Hill says the projects announced today will protect the conservation values of the properties and promote ecologically sustainable tourism.

"This will ensure that all Australians have the opportunity to experience the beauty of these areas, while also protecting them for future generations.

"The Commonwealth has allocated more than $2.4 million to developing and upgrading walking tracks in many of the most popular World Heritage areas, such as the Tasmanian Wilderness, Lord Howe Island, Fraser Island and the Wet Tropics.

"Protection of biodiversity, including management of endangered species, is another high priority for many World Heritage areas and is supported by increased project funding.

"Other projects being funded include improving visitor facilities, such as at Fraser Island, one of our most loved and heavily used World Heritage areas.

"Improved visitor facilities ensure that all Australians will have access to these areas in a manner which does not endanger the world heritage values which draw us to them."

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

May 10, 1998

Commonwealth of Australia