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Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage
EMBARGOED - 11pm Sunday 8th July
If Captain James Cook or Governor Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet sailed into Botany Bay today they would find a vastly changed and far more environmentally stressed region than the pristine and richly diverse landscape they encountered in the 1700s.
Launching Turning the Tide - a discussion paper on management challenges and options for the Botany Bay Catchment, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage, Sharman Stone, said that Botany Bay presented unique challenges to the community, Federal, State and Local Governments.
"Well over 2 million residents now call the Botany Bay Catchment home. Botany Bay has significant cultural, economic and environmental value to Australia and yet it is often labelled Sydney's '2nd' or 'other' harbour", Sharman Stone said.
"Botany Bay catchment is not only home to Kingsford Smith Airport, a major maritime facility and a range of petrochemical, metal and paper mill factories. It also contains many important sites for local Indigenous communities. As well as the Towra Point Nature Reserve - an internationally recognised (Ramsar listed) wetland", Sharman Stone said.
"Towra Point Wetland, the only substantial saltmarsh habitat close to Sydney, is home to the endangered Green and Gold Bell Frog. By working together we can protect this species as well as other unique flora and fauna of the region for the benefit of future generations of Sydneysiders ".
"The Bay and catchment are under severe stress. The Federal Government's Natural Heritage Trust has granted $205,000 to study the catchment and to help ensure its future".
"The launch today of a discussion paper on the future of Botany Bay recognises that we need to carefully manage the urban development and economic activity of a big city with the need to preserve, restore and maintain our unique coastal environment".
Sharman Stone said that it was pleasing to see the local councils working together, with the assistance of the Federal Member for Cook Bruce Baird, to raise awareness of, and find solutions to important coastal management issues.
The Howard Government has invested $125 million in the Coasts and Clean Seas Initiative as part of the Natural Heritage Trust, Australia's largest ever environmental rescue package.
"We also funded the world's first comprehensive oceans policy, protecting the 60,000 kilometres of coastline that is such an integral part of the lives of the 90% of Australians who live on the coast", Sharman Stone said.
"I would encourage all local residents to get involved in discussion and comment on Turning the Tide - I hope the end result will be a common understanding of the challenges that we face in repairing and restoring this significant environmental landmark".
For further information contact:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468
July 6th 2001