Launch of fund to conserve habitat

A GRANDSON of Myer empire founder Sidney Myer has launched a multimillion-dollar conservation fund in the Midlands that will gradually be built up to cover a large part of the area.

Andy Myer is the Midlands Conservation Fund chairman, is on the Bush Heritage Australia board and is a Sidney Myer Fund trustee.

The newly-established Midlands Conservation Fund aims to conserve biodiversity on Midlands farms to protect endangered habitat.

The fund, established by Bush Heritage Australia and the Tasmanian Land Conservancy, will help safeguard the last pieces of remnant grasslands and woodlands on the properties.

Farmers are paid under the fund’s stewardship agreements to protect endangered habitat under renewable 10-year agreements.

Mr Myer was among a group of philanthropists, ecologists and farmers who yesterday launched the fund at the 10,000-hectare property of Julian von Bibra called Beaufront, near Ross.

Mr von Bibra has signed up to the fund to protect and conserve endangered grassland on his property.

Mr Myer said 10 Midlands landholders had signed up to protect 2800 hectares but the long-term goal was to protect 64,000 hectares.

The tax-deductible fund has $3.3 million, raised from philanthropists and the federal government, and is aiming to raise $10 million by 2020.

Mr Myer said payments to farmers ranged from $2000 to $25,000 a year to reach conservation targets, and they received conservation management and monitoring support.

Midlands Conservation Fund chairman Andy Myer at Midlands property Beaufront yesterday. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

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