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

4 December 1999


Hundreds of volunteer divers from 23 NSW community dive groups will be mobilised with the support of the Natural Heritage Trust in a major new effort to protect the threatened Grey Nurse shark.

The divers, assisted by NSW Fisheries, will conduct extensive surveys of sites used by Grey Nurse sharks along the NSW coastline. The information will contribute to the identification of candidate areas for marine parks to protect grey nurse sharks.

"The data will also provide information for the development of a code of conduct for diving with the Grey Nurse Shark."

The project is one of 25 projects in NSW to share in a total of $3.2 million Trust funding announced today by Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill.

"This project, which has received $86,000 funding, is a terrific example of the community working in partnership with government to protect Australia's threatened species and repair our environment," Senator Hill said.

Other projects funded today will address stormwater and wastewater pollution, marine biodiversity and water quality issues throughout the State.

"Through the Coasts and Clean Seas program 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.

"For example, Shoalhaven City Council has received $136,700 funding to build on the success of another Trust project at Ulladulla. Under the project, discharges from Bomaderry Sewage Treatment works will be redirected to a 4 hectare plantation of tea trees," Senator Hill said.

"With the assistance of $200,000 funding, Sydney Water Corporation will construct a water reclamation plant at the Wollongong Sewage Treatment Plant to redirect secondary treated effluent from ocean discharge to the Port Kembla Steelworks for industrial use.

"On the NSW Central Coast, Great Lakes City Council will use its $410,000 funding to construct wetlands and install a gross pollutant trap to improve stormwater run off to Wallis Lake, reducing pollution levels in the lake.

"With a further $60,000 the Council will identify, measure and provide information to alleviate the impact of faecal contamination on water quality and aquaculture industries in the Wallis Lake and Port Stephens estuaries.

"State Forests of NSW has received $183,620 funding to develop three sites which demonstrate how native trees can reduce estuarine degradation from acid sulfate soil runoff.

"With $79,770 funding, the University of Canberra will monitor three south coast lakes to measure the nutrient, organic carbon and suspended sediments loads entering the lakes in a bid to improve water quality and species diversity.

"Local school students from Kingscliff High School will work with Tweed Shire Council as part of an $8,000 project to establish a long-term ecological monitoring program for Cudgen Creek, which is currently under increasing pressure from rural and urban development.

"The Lord Howe Island Board has received $12,500 funding to conduct ground water monitoring which will assist with the development of a water strategy for Lord Howe Island.

"The end result of all these exciting 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 projects are funded under the Natural Heritage Trust's $141 million Coasts and Clean Seas initiative to support the conservation, repair and sustainable use of Australia's coastal and marine environment.

This latest round of Coasts and Cleans Seas funding brings to a total of $11.4 dedicated to cleans seas, coastal monitoring and marine species protection projects in New South Wales.

In the cooperative spirit of the Trust, the Federal Government's 1999-2000 contribution will be boosted by $20.5 million funding from State and local governments and the community.

A list of funded projects is attached.

Media contacts:
Trent Zimmerman (Senator Hill's Office) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 690 617
Jane Book (NSW Coasts and Clean Seas Coordinator) 02 4960 5053 or 0413 270 262
Leigh West (Environment Australia) 02 6274 1466

Commonwealth of Australia