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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

17 March 1999


Out in the heart of the Federal electorate of Murray, an enterprising family is combining a love of the environment with practical tips and assistance on how to plant native vegetation.

Federal Member for Murray and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage, Sharman Stone MP, said that Paul and Cathy Haw of Vens Creek Nursery were making a great contribution to the community and the environment through a 'best practice' native nursery.

The nursery provides a comprehensive service. Paul will go out 'on-site' and survey the property; suggest the most suitable native plants to suit local soil, water and climatic conditions; grow the seedlings to specification; and supply planters if required.

"Paul and Cathy's innovative new service has put the local Boort/Yando area on the environmental map. In addition to keen local interest, the Haw's have tendered successfully for a number of large private and public contracts. Their trees are being planted right around Victoria," Sharman Stone said.

Mrs Stone said that the native species being grown and planted were having a tremendous impact on the appearance of the landscape and local environmental conditions which, in turn, benefited agricultural production. Innovative seedling techniques such as potting to encourage the growth of straight roots, preventing root systems being torn off when planted, were contributing to a high success rate.

"Paul and Cathy's success rate is over 95% of all native seedlings planted. Given all the things that can go wrong - frost, high water tables, drought, rabbits, hares and human error - it is a fantastic success rate that gives landholders real value for money."

The Haw's are also helping to train the Federal Government's Green Corps trainees who come from projects around Victoria to learn how to collect seed and plant local natives. Some plants have not been propagated in nurseries before.

"As the food bowl of Australia, Loddon-Murray farmers need to sustain and maximise agricultural production now and for the future. They realise how important it is to put something back into the land by replanting and fencing, to help better mange the effects of dry-land salinity and rising water tables, so the land remains viable for future generations. Yet often their efforts go unacknowledged."

Planting native vegetation is a difficult task. Native seeds must first be harvested from the local area to match local conditions. The Commonwealth provides $7 million to Greening Australia, through the Bushcare program, for a series of seedbanks around the country.

In the past there were very few local plant species, in particular small shrubby species, available for purchase and planting. Local Government tree programs, for example through the Tragowel Plains and Boort West of Loddon Salinity Management Plans, have helped to create demand for local species.

"In Echuca, Greening Australia has set up a regional storage facility in the Campaspe Shire Offices. It stocks a wide range of native seeds that are available to community groups, private landholders and commercial operators. Volunteers with spare time and energy are also needed to help collect seed."

Paul and Cathy Haw can be contacted at Vens Creek Nursery on telephone 03 5455 2154. For information about the Tree Planting Incentive Scheme, contact the shire council in your local area.

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

Commonwealth of Australia