Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

The Hon Ian Hunter MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation - South Australia

80 MCGs to be planted in Coorong Lower Lakes Murray Mouth vegetation program

Joint media release
11 June 2013

An area almost 80 times the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground will be planted with native seedlings, shrubs, and grasses in one of Australia's most important wetlands during the next three months.

The plantings are underway in South Australia's iconic Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (CLLMM) region.

Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter said the collaborative approach to revegetating such an important environmental asset is integral to the program's success.

"While this vegetation program is funded by the Australian and South Australian Governments, it could not be completed on such a large scale without the support and involvement of the local community, as well as the region's Traditional Owners, the Ngarrindjeri," Mr Hunter said.

"The community has been at the forefront of the vegetation work in the CLLMM region, propagating many of the plants required, and providing thousands of volunteers to help put the plants in the ground.

"And the local community has also played a central role in identify priority areas for plantings, with the Goolwa to Wellington Local Action Planning Association (GWLAP) leading the community input."

Federal Water Minister Tony Burke said as the system is being restored to health we can never forget just how bad the situation became not long ago.

"The fact is, to repair the magnificent areas of the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth now takes more than simply adding water," Mr Burke said.

"While the Murray Darling Basin Plan locks in the water required to restore the system to health, this planting work ensures the whole ecology starts to get back to what it always should have been.

"The Ngarrindjeri leadership has forever been on the side of environmental health. This project allows the Australian Government to lend a helping hand as the Ngarrindjeri and the local community lead the work to bring everything back to life."

Minister Hunter says about 1.06 million plants, across 189 different native species, have been produced for this year's vegetation works, with about 255,000 of these plants grown by community-based nurseries.

"This year's work will take to more than three million the number of sedges and other native plants that have been planted in the CLLMM region since 2009, in what's believed to be the biggest project of its kind in Australia, Mr Hunter said.

"More than 10,000 hectares of lakebed has also been seeded by air during that time.

"The CLLMM region is recognised under the international Ramsar Convention as one of Australia's most important wetlands. These plants will help stabilise the soil, reduce erosion, and add carbon to the soil to combat the threat of acidification.

"More than 70 sites will be targeted for plantings as part of the expansive program. Last weekend's rainfall, which delivered half our average monthly rainfall for June, is a bonus for the vegetation work."

The vegetation project is part of the South Australian Government's Murray Futures program, funded by the Australian Government's Water for the Future initiative.