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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

3 March 1999

BUSHCARE EXPEDITION RAISES NATIVE VEGETATION AWARENESS


50,000 native trees are being planted by two local community groups as part of the regional effort to replenish and preserve native vegetation, Federal Member for Murray, Sharman Stone, said today.

Sharman Stone met with local Greening Australia representatives, the Terrick Ridge Landcare Group and the combined North Central, Kamarooka and Bendigo Landcare Community Group to inspect their work.

"The on-ground work is essential for sustainable land and water resources," Sharman Stone said.

"It's not just about planting native trees or grasslands. The work being done by community groups throughout the area is helping to revive native plant systems, replenish local farmland, manage salinity and restore native reserves for rare and threatened species."

"In particular, farmers have made enormous contributions to replanting the landscape in Northern Victoria. Their work is all about sustainable natural resource management practices that will protect the land for future generations," Mrs Stone said.

The Terrick Ridge Landcare Group has received $40,000 from the Federal Government's Natural Heritage Trust to restore and manage native vegetation on farmlands and roadsides. The project involves planting local seeds to re-grow the native understory, to create links between key reserves in the local area.

When completed, 40,000 new trees will have been planted over a 48 hectare area and 24 kms of fencing will have been constructed.

On the Loddon Riverine Plain, North Central, Kamarooka and Bendigo Creek Landcare Community Group have received $20,000 in Natural Heritage Trust funds to protect and manage native vegetation, including grassy forests, wetlands and riverbank revegetation.

When completed, they will have planted 9,000 trees across 120 hectares and built 90 kms of fencing.

Sharman Stone also met with the operators of Greening Australia's local seedbank at Echuca in the Campaspe Shire Office.

"Planting locally collected native seeds is of crucial importance. Plant and tree species have adjusted to variations in local climatic and soil conditions and support specially adapted insects and bird life. Although seed collection is often a painstaking process, with volunteers needed at precisely the right time, it is a vital first step if native trees are to be replanted."

Later in the afternoon Mrs Stone met with Paul and Cathy Haw from Vens Creek Nursery Boort, picking up some 'green thumb' ideas at their 'best practice' native nursery and collecting native seeds in a cherry picker.

These local Murray projects are funded through the Bushcare program part of the Federal Government's Natural Heritage Trust. The $1.25 billion Natural Heritage Trust is the largest environmental rescue effort ever undertaken by an Australian Government.

"It is important that local shires and community groups understand the diversity of Natural Heritage Trust programs, as well as the possibilities of funding through Green Corps and Work for the Doles programs," Mrs Stone said.

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

Commonwealth of Australia