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

FUNDING TO CONSERVE RIVERSLEIGH FOSSIL SITE


17 June 1999

The Commonwealth Government has announced major funding through the Natural Heritage Trust to improve conservation, protection and management of the Riversleigh World Heritage Site in north-west Queensland.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Robert Hill, says $190,000 will be spent on a range of measures to strengthen scientific understanding and public appreciation of Riversleigh's World Heritage values.

"The funding includes $78,000 for ongoing research and $45,000 for further recording of the unique fossils, dating back more than 20 million years.

"This project is essential to the research, management and protection of the area and will also provide educational and information programs to keep the community broadly informed about the condition of its World Heritage values," Senator Hill said.

"As there is a potential for damage or theft of fossils from this remote site, $17,000 has been provided for improved security, providing regular vehicle and aircraft surveillance.

"Major improvements to the Mount Isa Interpretative Centre are included in the package with $50,000 going towards fitting out a fossil treatment laboratory. This will help showcase how the fossils specimens are prepared, improving the educational experience for visitors to the area."

The Commonwealth has now provided a total of $935,000 in funding towards Riverseigh since its World Heritage listing, of which $385,000 has come from the Natural Heritage Trust.

The Commonwealth has also funded the preparation of a strategic management plan with a draft now released for public comment.

The ongoing research has confirmed that important fossil beds lie outside of the World Heritage area. The Commonwealth is working closely with the Queensland Government to explore options for purchase of relevant land for a possible extension to the Riversleigh World Heritage Area.

Commonwealth funding of $125,000 has already been allocated for the acquisition.

Media contact:
Rod Bruem (02) 62 77 7640 or 041112 8582

Commonwealth of Australia