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

19 December 2006

Australian Biological Resources Study

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, today announced new members of the nation's premier taxonomy advisory committee.

The Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) is an Australian Government research agency leads the world in providing species information for biodiversity management.

The ABRS Advisory Committee advises the Parliamentary Secretary on taxonomy policy and assesses research grants that provide valuable information on little known Australian plants, animals and microorganisms.

Mr Hunt said Australia is home to two million species of plants and animals, with 80 per cent found nowhere else in world.

"If we're to conserve our rich biodiversity, it is vital that we build our scientific knowledge," Mr Hunt said.

"There are a large number of species that are still poorly known or completely undocumented. The study of such species is fundamental to effective conservation, and for the use of plants and animals in medicines and vaccines. The ABRS Advisory Committee is vital to that effort."

The committee is made up of a chairperson, six members chosen for their technical expertise and four stakeholder members. The following new members take up their three year appointments from 1 January 2007:

Mr Hunt thanked the outgoing members of the committee, Dr Ian Gould (who held the position of chair) and Dr John Pitt, Dr Winston Ponder, Mr Guy Fitzhardinge and Dr Jane Gilmour for the valuable contribution they had made in assisting ABRS to deliver the Australian Government programme that contributes to vital biodiversity research.

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

Commonwealth of Australia