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Joint Media Release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
&
Michael Ferguson MP
Federal Member for Bass

22 November 2004

$100,000 Australian Government support for Mount Chappell Island and Badger Island Indigenous Protected Areas


Addressing serious land degradation problems will be the focus of $100,000 in funding from the Australian Government for the Mount Chappell and Badger Island Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs), located in the Furneaux Group off the north-east coast of Tasmania.

Mr Greg Hunt, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage, congratulated the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for its commitment to the restoration, protection and conservation of the natural and cultural values of Mount Chappell Island and Badger Island IPAs.

"Both islands have suffered from over-exploitation of their natural resources for the last 200 years. The IPA program aims to restore the islands to a healthy state, and provide an opportunity for the Aboriginal community to connect with the unique values of the islands," Mr Hunt said.

"Despite the presence of extremely invasive weed species on Mount Chappell Island, there are several native plants present including Island Sea Parsley, Coastal Bonefruit, Pellitory, Scrambling Twin-leaf and Spectacular Everlasting. The 350-hectare island is also notorious for its snake - the largest sub-species of Tiger Snake."

Mr Michael Ferguson, Federal Member for Bass, said the islands required a great deal of intensive work for the next decade to halt the advance of invasive weeds and restore their flora balance.

"Under the IPA program, the enormous damage to these islands will be gradually repaired, while minimising the risk of creating further imbalances," Mr Ferguson said.

"While Badger Island has been overgrazed and overburnt in the past, significant work has been conducted over the last 12 months to restore the island's biodiversity. Aboriginal heritage places are also now being actively managed."

Over the coming 12 months, work on Mount Chappell Island will concentrate on weed removal and revegetation, and will build on the substantial progress made in controlling the extreme Boxthorn infestation - a weed that has made the island an unpleasant place for many years.

"Future activities for the 1244-hectare island include fencing the revegetation corridors and places of Aboriginal heritage, blocking stock access to saline areas, a revegetation program to increase biodiversity, and investigating the restoration of mutton bird rookeries with the assistance of the Parks and Wildlife Service," Mr Hunt said.

The Indigenous Protected Areas program is a part of the $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust, the largest ever commitment by an Australian Government to environmental management and sustainable agriculture.

" Indigenous landowners are being supported through the IPA program to manage their lands and protect the natural and cultural features in accordance with internationally recognised guidelines for the benefit of all Australians. Over eight years, the IPA program has added 13.8 million hectares of unique ecosystems to the National Reserve System," Mr Hunt said.

For further information on Indigenous Protected Areas, visit www.deh.gov.au/indigenous/ipa.

Commonwealth of Australia