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Federal Govt announces National Wildlife Corridors Plan

Beef Central, 05/11/2012

The Federal Government has announced a new National Wildlife Corridors Plan to connect environmentally protected areas across Australia, but says it is not a plan to "lock up land".

Environment Minister, Tony Burke, said the Corridors Plan an initiative to improve resilience for the environment by connecting protected areas.

"You can look at a map of reserved areas and sometimes it looks like someone has dipped a toothbrush in paint and splattered different unconnected dots across the land," Mr Burke said.

"Corridors are about connecting those dots; it's a way of improving resilience and ensuring that we are protecting nature in a way that preserves it for generations to come.

"The Plan unveiled today outlines a process for communities to identify and nominate areas they believe will contribute to a national network of wildlife corridors.

"An area that meets the criteria and is declared as a National Wildlife Corridor may be eligible for priority funding under a range of Australian Government funding programs.

"This is about setting priorities for conservation funding. The plan does not, of itself, lock up any land.

"The Corridors Plan identifies a number of ways communities can become involved in wildlife corridor initiatives, contributing to biodiversity conservation at the landscape scale and improving the sustainability of their local and regional areas.

"Under the Corridors Plan, communities will be able to nominate wildlife corridors for recognition and declaration as National Wildlife Corridors. Over time, a network of wildlife corridors will be established across Australia, benefiting our biodiversity, and our agricultural and built environments."

Mr Burke said endorsement of the Corridors Plan met the Government's 2010 election commitment to establish a wildlife corridors plan that increases the resilience of Australia's native plants and animals, and agricultural landscapes, so they are more able to withstand the impacts of climate change.

He said the National Wildlife Corridors Plan Advisory Group undertook a thorough consultation process on the draft plan with stakeholders across the community.

"The consultation undertaken by the independent advisory group was essential in ensuring the community had input into the National Wildlife Corridors Plan," he said.

"The insights provided by regional natural resource management organisations, environment groups, local and state governments, scientists, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, tourism organisations, planning organisations and agricultural and mining peak bodies were all considered by the Advisory Group during the consultation on the draft Plan."

He said the plan would help guide future government investment through a range of initiatives, such as Caring for our Country and the Biodiversity Fund. The Clean Energy Future Plan's Land Sector Carbon and Biodiversity Board will provide advice to the Environment Minister on wildlife corridors within the landscape.

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