Environment Minister David Templeman today joined a team of conservation volunteers and mining industry employees at Karijini National Park’s Weano Gorge to help tackle bush fires and invasive weed problems.
The Rio Tinto staff and Conservation Volunteers Australia group were meeting as part of a Bush Fire Hazard Reduction project to address what had been identified as one of the biggest environmental threats in the North-West.
“Extensive bush fires, rather than the selective burning that was done by indigenous people, destroy large areas of natural vegetation,” Mr Templeman said.
“They lead to the spread of invasive weeds that thrive in the ash left behind and quickly take over, stopping native plants from getting their roots down.
“The nature of the weeds - a type of spinifex that’s not native to the area - can actually cause more bush fires, so it’s essential that we stop the cycle of devastation that could occur.
“We need to make sure that the beautiful surrounds that we’re blessed with here in Western Australia are left intact for future generations to enjoy as much as we can now.”
The project is part of the $1million Future Volunteers partnership which was formed in 2006 between the Rio Tinto WA Future Fund, the Department of Environment and Conservation and Conservation Volunteers Australia.
“This collaboration will result in more than 1,000 days of work by volunteers on projects like these and we are truly grateful for their hard work to conserve our natural surroundings,” the Minister said.
“It’s not only up to the people who generously donate their time, it’s everyone’s responsibility and it’s great to see corporations and industry leaders like Rio Tinto doing their bit.
“By working together across government, industry and with the help of volunteers, we can make a really positive difference to our environment.”
Mr Templeman encouraged anyone interested in lending a hand to find out more about the projects run by Conservation Volunteers Australia.
“There are many ways that people can get involved and have a good time, while contributing to worthwhile environmental projects,” he said.
Further information is available from:
Minister's office - 9220 5050