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

23 December 1999


Efforts to restore and protect Australia's coastal and river environments have received a $8 million boost through the Federal Government's Natural Heritage Trust.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage Robert Hill today announced funding for dozens of projects involving community groups, local and State governments.

The projects include diverting treated waste water from coastal waters to productive land use, such as at a BP Oil plant on Moreton Bay in Queensland, the Anglesea golf course near Geelong in Victoria and Morphettville Racecourse in South Australia.

The Trust has also provided funding to bolster work in Darwin Harbour on establishing early warning systems for invasive exotic marine pests, such as the black striped mussel, and for assessing their impacts.

Projects to improve water quality across whole catchments, including construction of wetlands to act as filters, have been funded.

The Trust has also provided funds for projects to eradicate threats to vulnerable bird and penguin populations in Victoria and turtle populations in Western Australia, and to conserve threatened giant kelp beds in Tasmania and seagrass beds in Victoria.

"Through Coasts and Clean Seas the Howard Government is supporting a range of projects that use innovative technology and promote the reuse and better treatment of waste water," Senator Hill said.

"The projects that have received funding in this latest round demonstrate how communities working with governments and other stakeholder groups can make a real difference on the ground to improving their local environment.

"The end result of these projects will be cleaner beaches and lakes, improved water quality and a better understanding of the impact of human and natural activities on marine biodiversity."

The funding announced today comes from the Trust's $141 million Coasts and Clean Seas initiative to support the conservation, repair and sustainable use of Australia's coastal and marine environment.

A total of 77 projects have been funded in this round. Funding for 25 New South Wales projects was announced early this month.

In the cooperative spirit of the Trust, the Federal Government's 1999-2000 contribution will be boosted by contributions from State and local governments and the community.

Media contacts:
Rod Bruem (Senator Hill's office) 02 6277 7640
Conall O'Connell (Environment Australia) 02 6274 1466

Commonwealth of Australia