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

5 February 2000


200,000 trees will be planted by volunteers throughout Melbourne over the next year as part of the Federal Government's city wide Integrated Urban Bushcare Project.

Speaking at the official launch of the project, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone MP, said that the Commonwealth had committed $346,000 in Bushcare funding from the Natural Heritage Trust.

"This is a landmark project for Melbourne, the largest coordinated revegetation project ever undertaken," Sharman Stone said.

"We are beginning to see koala's make their way down the Yarra Valley and native birds are returning to bush corridors. The additional plants will see these tentative beginnings become established populations."

"The project is an outstanding example of what can be achieved when the community, government and the private sector work together to protect and rehabilitate Australia's fragile native bush."

The native revegetation project links 50 individual sites over a 250-hectare area stretching from metropolitan Melbourne north to the Dandenongs and south to the Mornington Peninsula.

Grants range in value from $600 for the Friends of Sweetwater Creek Action Group in Frankston to $21,767 for the Caroline Springs Residents Group. With matched and in-kind contributions from Greening Australia, community volunteers, local councils, businesses and water authorities, the total project is valued at over $720,000.

In addition to planting 200,000 native trees, volunteers will direct seed another 20,000, construct 8 kms of fencing and remove feral weeds.

"The benefits for the City will be marvellous," Sharman Stone said.

"Native trees sustain and provide habitat for native wildlife help to reduce air pollution, act as 'sinks' for harmful greenhouse gasses, improve water quality, reduce erosion and salinity and provide shade."

The Integrated Urban Bushcare Project is one of 450 projects throughout Victoria to be funded through the Natural Heritage Trust.

Dr Stone commended Greening Australia Victoria, the project coordinator, saying their vision and the hard work of hundred of volunteers would revitalise Melbourne parks, backyards and waterways.

"With funding from the Commonwealth, Greening Australia Victoria, their partner organisations and volunteers have put together a strategic revegetation plan that will have lasting benefits for Melbourne's landscape," Sharman Stone said.

Applications for 2000-2001 Natural Heritage Trust grants are now open. For more information or to obtain an application form contact freecall 1800 065 823 or on-line at Applications close 26 February 2000.

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

Commonwealth of Australia