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Natural Heritage Trust

22 February 2001

VICTORIA'S WATERS AWASH WITH $1.3M FUNDING


Cleaning up the waters of Corio Bay, off Geelong, will be the priority for one of nine Victorian projects to share in more than $1.3 million Natural Heritage Trust funding announced today by Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill.

"The City of Greater Geelong has received $250,000 to reduce stormwater pollution of Corio Bay. Litter, sediment, nutrients and other pollutants will be trapped by an artificial wetland and gross pollutant trap," Senator Hill said.

"This will be good news to local residents, particularly since Rippleside Beach has been closed to swimming after failing to measure up to water quality guidelines."

The projects are funded under the fourth round of the Trust's Coasts and Clean Seas initiative, bringing a total $7,835,456 Trust funding committed to clean seas, coastal monitoring and marine species protection in Victoria.

Senator Hill said all the projects funded today were fine examples of how on-ground work can achieve exceptional results in conserving and repairing Australia's coastal, marine and estuarine environments.

"They also demonstrate how the Trust is achieving both environmental and economic benefits."

Other projects funded in Victoria will address marine pollution from wastewater, the protection of marine species from human impacts, and important habitat preservation.

"Melbourne Water has received $250,000 to dramatically reduce effluent flows into Port Phillip Bay from the Werribee Sewage Treatment Plant. Treated effluent will be diverted to the Werribee Tourist Precinct Equestrian Centre and the Werribee Golf Course, helping to reduce demand on local potable water.

"Stormwater pollution entering the Port Campbell estuary will be tackled by the Corangamite Shire Council after it received $71,000. Gross pollutant and oil traps will be set up, and a litter taskforce will be formed to raise community, stakeholder and tourism awareness about the major causes of pollution, like litter.

"With $7,794, Deakin University will remove rice grass, a weed threatening Anderson Inlet, a Ramsar-listed wetland home to resident and migratory shorebirds. Volunteers will use aerial photographs and maps to identify and remove the rice grass invading the wetland's mudflats and saltmarsh.

"All these projects will build on the great achievements of previously-funded Coasts and Clean Seas projects including improved water quality and management of threats to marine species.

"The Trust depends heavily on community, industry and government groups identifying local environmental problems, and developing solutions that can be spread to and reproduced by other regions.

"The number and quality of community applications for Trust funding is a clear endorsement of the Trust, and those projects awarded funds will continue the collaborative work of the past three years.

"The end result will be cleaner beaches, improved water quality and a better understanding of the impact of human and natural activities on marine biodiversity."

The Trust's $141 million Coasts and Clean Seas initiative is aimed at supporting the conservation, sustainable use and repair of Australia's coastal and marine environments.

In the cooperative spirit of the Trust, the Federal Government's 2000-2001 contribution will be boosted by funding from State and local governments and the community.

The list of Victorian funded projects is available for downloading as a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view it.

For further information on the Coasts and Clean Seas initiative contact Environment Australia's Community Information Unit on toll-free 1800 803 772 or visit the website at www.environment.gov.au/marine/coast_clean_seas/

22 February 2001

Media contact:
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's Office) (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia