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20 May 2010 - Groups unite to applaud red gum national park      


20 May 2010 

Eleven environment groups have united to applaud action by the Keneally Government to increase the area of new River Red Gum National Parks and deliver improved outcomes for Traditional Owners.

“The announcement yesterday means that the NSW Government will fully deliver on the scientific advice it received and immediately create 107,000 hectares of new protected areas in the Riverina” said Carmel Flint, spokesperson for the National Parks Association of NSW.

“We applaud Premier Keneally and Environment Minister, Frank Sartor, on delivering this gift to future generations for which they will be long remembered.”

“The decision has global significance because it fully protects the largest Red Gum forest left in the world, a Ramsar-listed wetland, and the heart of the Murray Darling – the Barmah- Millewa forest” said Felicity Wade, NSW Campaigns Manager for The Wilderness Society Sydney.

“Barmah-Millewa is now a world class, cross-border National Park that permanently protects more than 70,000 hectares of Red Gum” she said.

“The decision will also deliver a network of National Parks along the two major rivers and form the backbone of a corridor from Kosciuszko to the Coorong. This will prove vital in allowing native animals to adapt to a changing climate” said Jeff Angel, spokesperson for the Total Environment Centre.

“It is a tremendous decision that delivers a landmark environmental outcome which builds on the Labor Governments 15 year forest conservation record” he said.

The decision is also a landmark for Indigenous land rights, reconciliation and selfdetermination. “Today will see the start of a process to completely hand back large State Forest areas to two Traditional Owner groups as Indigenous Protected Areas. This is a momentous decision that is a first for any Government in NSW” said Jonathan La Nauze, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth Melbourne.

“It will also involve the development of a joint management agreement over the Millewa forest with the Yorta Yorta nation – putting them back in charge of their Country and providing rewarding jobs for their young people” he said.

“Combined with the recent declaration of protected areas across Victorian forests, the Riverina region will now have over 200,000 hectares of new River Red Gum reserves” said Lindsay Hesketh, Forests Campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation.

“This decision further delivers on the State’s responsibility to ensure protective management of the Murray Darling Icon Sites” he said.

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