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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

25 July 1999

GREENING AUSTRALIA'S RED CENTRE


Bushcare projects in the heart of Australia's red centre, Alice Springs, are helping transform the city's landscape and protect the region's unique biodiversity, Dr Sharman Stone MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage said today.

Dr Stone, in Alice Springs to inspect local projects, said around $200,000 in funding from the Natural Heritage Trust was being ploughed into protecting and rehabilitating native bush this year.

"There are some really outstanding projects in Alice Springs that are helping to restore and protect native vegetation as well as raising community awareness about why native bush is important to the region's biodiversity."

"The rehabilitation of the Coolibah Swamp, demonstrates what can be accomplished through hard-work and community cooperation. Local schools students, individuals and community groups have all chipped in to bring this area alive. The long-term health of the eco-system is now in safe hands and community has a marvellous new recreational area for all to enjoy," Dr Stone said.

The project received $19,420 in funding from the Natural Heritage Trust.

Another important local Bushcare project is the rehabilitation of the Todd River Catchment, which aims to plant around 60,000 trees to help increase regional biodiversity, restore wildlife habitat and improve ground water and salinity management. This year the Trust will provide funding of $73, 987 for project activities.

"In partnership with the Tangentyere Council and Greening Australia NT, the Federal Government is helping to preserve the region's unique native plant species through the establishment of a seedbank and nursery."

"This year the group has received some $31,041 in funding from the Trust to run the native seedbank and nursery as will as a public education campaign on the importance of the region's biodiversity."

"While based in Alice Springs, the seeds and seedlings will be then used in native bushland rehabilitation projects in indigenous communities within a 700km radius of the city."

Dr Stone said the Federal Government was also committed to providing resources and support for the local community in their efforts to protect and rehabilitate the region's native bush, funding a number of Bushcare support positions.

"Alice Springs is home to three Bushcare officers, including an indigenous facilitator, all of whom are available to help local community groups develop and deliver Bushcare projects."

"They are the experts, so you don't have to be. Their help in drawing up applications means community groups can get on with planting and protecting native bush," Dr Stone said.

The Bushcare Program is part of the Federal Government's $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust, the largest environmental rescue package ever undertaken by an Australian Government.

Applications for 2000-2001 Bushcare project will be called in September this year. Dr Stone encouraged interested community groups to contact the Alice Springs Bushcare Support Centre or freecall 1800 065 823 to apply and continue the great works already being done in Alice Springs.

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

Commonwealth of Australia