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Atherton Tablelands
Sunday 28th June 1998

Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald
Parliamentary Secretary to the
Minister for the Environment

Thanks very much Mr President and Ladies and Gentlemen. Contrary to what our Chairman said, I'm sure you don't want to hear a long lengthy speech from me these days. I think today in politics, the less politicians are seen or heard the better we are.

I'm delighted that I was able to be with you this afternoon. There is a major Queensland Landcare Catchment Management Conference in Cairns tomorrow that I have a part to play in and so I am delighted that I could take this opportunity to come along and just demonstrate my and the Governments great pride in the work that you people have done.

I think it's just fabulous the fact that volunteers do this sort of thing and do it in such good spirit with such dedication and such devotion and in a way that really means something.

I alsowanted to particularly congratulate and mention the landowners between the two lakes who have enabled this corridor to proceed. I'm not sure if there are any here. In years gone by and in other parts of the country, you do sometimes have a bit of confrontation between those wanting to do what's right for the country and the nation and for our fauna and flora, and those who have property and can't see the benefit of that happening. So for those landowners involved I think that is just fabulous and congratulations to you all.

The Government's been pleased that we've been able to provide $43,000 from the NHT in the current year and I understand you have applied for another $12,000 in the coming year.

The idea of getting the corridor back between the two lakes will be significant for the flora and fauna particularly in this area. They tell me you have tree kangaroos in this area and the striped possum is it? And of course rain forest birds all congregate where the rainforest grows.

The fact that this joins in with the Gadgarri State Forest Project that TREET and others are doing, is also tremendous and it really creates the corridor right through and makes it much easier to try and get back to where we were several hundred years ago.

I notice from your aims and objectives, that as well as re-establishing that link and complementing the tree project from the Gadgarri State Forest, you are adding a lot of knowledge to the rain forest corridor and the impact on it and what you can do when we get these isolated remnants joined together again. So that will help with our knowledge and our understanding. And of course the rehabilitation of the degradated section of the watercourse.

Russell Fry has mentioned the length. 40,000 trees I'm told that you've planted in about four months, and that's great.

So I suppose, apart from telling you all how good you are and telling you how good our Government is for making some funds available, I'm sure you don't need me to say too much more.

But it really is my pleasure to recognise the work that you've done, recognise the Eacham Shire Council, the Department of Natural Resources, the GreenCorp - some of you I met when I launched the GreenCorp, that's one of the things that I have responsibility for in the Government and so I'm very pleased to see that the local GreenCorp has made a real tangible difference on the ground as well.

And there seems to be some likelihood that we'll be able to keep that GreenCorp project going Australiawide and so I'm sure you won't be slow in coming forward with other projects and proposals in the future. And it's great that the Wet Tropics Management Authority has been able to lend a hand.

One of the things that I'm very keen about and I know Robert Hill is as well, is the Cassowary work that's being done by the Wet Tropics Management Authority. We've given some money but more importantly we have the commitment and if the commitment needs more money then perhaps we should look at that in the future also.

So thanks very much, well done, congratulations and with that I think it's my pleasant duty to officially declare this open and I'll do that while unveiling this interesting looking sign.

Commonwealth of Australia