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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage


26 May 2000

$1.5 MILLION FOR CRITICALLY ENDANGERED GRASSLANDS


Some of Australia's most unusual and rare native plants and animals, including the Swift Parrot, Tessellated Gecko, Freckled Duck, Red Swainson Pea and Sun Moth, are one step closer to recovery thanks to a million funding boost from the Federal Government.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage, Sharman Stone MP, today announced the first round of funding from Grassy Ecosystems Grants for South-east Australia Program, funded through the Federal Government's Natural Heritage Trust.

The round one grants total over $298,500 and will fund 26 locally based projects in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

Dr Stone said the importance of native grasslands is often forgotten, yet they are among Australia's most threatened ecosystems.

"Less than one per cent of original grassland habitat remains in south-eastern Australia. Despite this critically endangered status, grasslands are an important natural incubator for many rare and threatened species and are a vital source of nutrition for native birds and insects."

"The Grassy Ecosystems Grants will help conserve and enhance native grasslands through the cooperative efforts of the Federal Government, the WWF and local landholders," Sharman Stone said.

A number of the projects use incentives such as rate rebates and whole farm plans to ensure grassy remnants on private land are permanently protected.

The projects are diverse, and range from the protection of grasslands to empowering community managers in best practice conservation management.

"These projects will improve the management of more than 2150ha of grasslands through establishing long term agreements with landholders and state authorities and on-ground conservation activities, including 51km of fencing works," Sharman Stone said.

Dr Stone said the Federal Government was pleased to be working in partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature, who are responsible for administering the grants on a day-to-day basis.

"These projects are practical answers to the need for increased conservation management on both private and public lands outside of formal National Parks," WWF Australia Chief Executive Officer Dr David Butcher said.

Over the next three years $1.5 million in funding from the Natural Heritage Trust will be invested in the Gassy Ecosystems Grants Program.

Project details attached.

Media Inquiries:
Nicole Johnston, Assistant Adviser, 02 6277 2016 or 0419 219 415
26 May 2000


Victoria has been funded to conduct 13 projects:

State Project Title Approved funding
Vic Grassland Conservers (Trust for Nature, Victoria) $33,000
Vic Hindmarsh Shire Grassland Flora and Fauna Reserve Project $14,200
Vic Protection of Remnant Native Grassland at Truganina Cemetery $4,500
Vic Conservation of Snow Gum/Black Casuarina Grassy Woodland $5,760
Vic Protection of National Estate Listed Grasslands in SW Victoria $19,500
Vic Protection of Plains Grasslands (Greens Swamp Road, Dandenong) $1,595
Vic Conservation of Grassy Ecosystem Roadsides in Moorabool Shire $7,000
Vic Grassland Restoration - Mornington-Baxter Rail Reserve $2,700
Vic Empowering Community Managers in Best Practice Conservation Management $23,000
Vic Bush's Paddock: Implementing and Demonstrating Best Practice Management $11,600
Vic Fingerboards Grassy Woodlands Project $12,000
Vic Fencing Railway Remnants at Bannockburn $1,000
Vic Fencing of the Woodend Racecourse Reserve Native Grasslands $4,000
  TOTAL $139,855


South Australia has been funded to conduct 8 projects:

State Project Title Approved funding
SA Northern Areas Council: Grassy Ecosystems Biodiversity Management Plan $21,560
SA Burra Mine Site National Trust Native Grasslands Project $5,465
SA Conservation of Yacka Cemetery Native Grasslands $1,010
SA Preserving Keynetons Heritage Hilltops $1,200
SA Preservation of 1.5 sq km "New World" Grassy Woodlands $300
SA Yeldulknie Creek Grassland Conservation Project $4,900
SA Western Ridge Grassy Woodland Conservation Project $3,320
SA Macclesfield Bushcare Group: Day Paddock Reserve Plan $3,050
  TOTAL $40,805


NSW has been funded to conduct 4 projects:

State Project Title Approved funding
NSW Riverina Grasslands $73,800
NSW Restoration of Remnant Vegetation on Middlingbank Peninsula $9,125
NSW Bega Valley Remnant Grassland Management Plans $10,000
NSW Old Portion of Bombala Cemetery $3,000
  TOTAL $95,925


The ACT has been funded to conduct 1 project:

State Project Title Approved funding
ACT Production of a Grassy Ecosystem Management Implementation Kit for Land Managers $22,000
  TOTAL $22,000



Exemplary Projects in Each State/Territory

Victoria
Title: Grassland Conservers
Proponent: Trust for Nature, Victoria
Funding: $30,000
Description: The activities associated with this project follow from the successful Grassland Stewards and Grassland Advisers projects and will employ a range of incentives (rate rebates, fencing, whole farm plans etc) to ensure key grassy remnants are permanently protected. Some sites link with existing reserves and other conservation land and are critically important for the development and sustainable management of Protected Area Networks (eg Perry River in East Gippsland). Other high quality sites are isolated on commercial farms and permanent protection of these sites will help promote grassland conservation in the context of sustainable agriculture.

New South Wales
Title: Riverina Grasslands
Proponent: Western Riverina Regional vegetation Committee
Funding: $73,800
Description: The Riverina region is high priority for grassland conservation due to the enormous land use changes in the region. This project meets the best model for grassland conservation identified by WWF. The project provides an opportunity to boost the profile of grassland conservation in the Riverina by targeting identified high priority sites for negotiation of long-term conservation agreements.

South Australia
Title: Northern Areas Council: Grassy Ecosystems Biodiversity Management Plan
Proponent: Northern Areas Council
Funding: $21,560
Description: Northern Areas Council covers much of the mid-north of South Australia. The original vegetation was predominantly grassy woodlands and native grasslands. This project will enable development and application of conservation management guidelines along 500km of important roadsides by Council employees and contractors.

ACT
Title: Production of a Grassy Ecosystem Management Implementation Kit for Land Managers
Proponent: Environment ACT
Funding: $22,000
Description: This project addresses an identified gap in materials available to assist private grassland managers in the identification of grassland remnants and in management and monitoring of pastures for biodiversity conservation. The project has strong links to existing site-based conservation projects and on-ground environmental outcomes.


Commonwealth of Australia