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Media Release
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage

19 December 2006

New botanical ambassador to Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

A leading university botanist will be posted to the prestigious Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew to help research Australia's early plant collections.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, announced today that Associate Professor Jeremy Bruhl, from the University of New England will be the 52nd botanist appointed as the Australian Botanic Liaison Officer.

"The majority of Australia's early plant collections dating back to Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander are held in Kew or other European herbaria," Mr Hunt said.

"They are a fantastic resource for Australian scientists and botanists around the world - a rich historical record of early explorers and the specimens they collected.

"For nearly 70 years the Australian Government and the States have collaborated to appoint an Australian botanist to work at Kew.

"The Botanical Liaison Officer fields queries from Australian botanists, helping them examine specimens, locate botanical literature, examine historical correspondence and gain access to images of important historical plant collections.

"In return for this access the Liaison Officer provides Kew staff with advice on Australian plants and on the Australian collections housed at Kew.

"The Liaison Officer also acts as a botanical ambassador in London and elsewhere, presenting lectures and attending conferences. This is a vital contribution to botany in Australia."

Dr Bruhl was recommended for the position by the Council of Heads of Australian Herbaria and is the first botanist from a university to take on the role.

The position is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Biological Resources Study grants programme and by the University of New England.

Media Contact:
John Deller (Mr Hunt's Office) on 0400 496 596

Commonwealth of Australia