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Media Release
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage

11 March 1999


"Conservation without Borders" is the driving principle behind a new cooperative conservation agreement for the Murray Mallee region signed by the Commonwealth and partner states on Friday.

Speaking at the launch of the Memorandum of Understanding in Mildura, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage and Federal Member for Murray, Sharman Stone MP, said the Murray Mallee region was one of Victoria's most important habitats for rare and threatened species.

The area is also home to the largest area of native mallee vegetation in eastern Australia and two internationally significant wetlands - the Hattah-Kulkyne Lake and the Riverland.

"Trees and animals don't stop at the border. That's why we need a cooperative and coordinated approach to preserving and protecting our fragile natural resources," Sharman Stone said.

More than 300 species of birds and more than 1000 plant species can be found in the Murray Mallee region, including 26% of Victoria's rare or threatened flora species and 40% of the state's endangered fauna.

"Because of the Mallee's unique landscape, a combination of semi-arid, wetland and river ecosystems, it is home to many rare and endangered species such as the Mallee Ningaui, Silky Mouse, Black-eared Miner, Malleefowl, Red Lored Whistler, Regent Parrot and Southern Purple Spotted Gudgeon."

Feral predators, encroaching agricultural and urban development and land clearing have all taken their toll over many years on the region's environment. More small and medium sized mammals have been lost from this region than any other in Victoria.

The Murray Mallee region is also home to many significant indigenous cultural sites such as in the Nyah Forest, Merbein Midden and Horseshoe Bend Burial site.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Commonwealth and partner states, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales aims to promote the protection of the landscape, flora and fauna habitats, endangered species, cultural values and enhance recreation and tourism activities in the region.

"The partnership is all about developing a cooperative approach to the management of natural resources and sustainable land use on a regional level," Mrs Stone.

A steering committee, comprising representatives from all jurisdictions, will be responsible for developing, coordinating and implementing operational plans.

"By sharing information, ideas and expertise and working together, we will be able to improve pest, fire and tourism management, promote public awareness, conduct comprehensive biodiversity studies and better protect and manage land and water resources."

For further information please contact: Nicole Johnston, 02 6277 2016 or 0419 219 415

Commonwealth of Australia