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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

31 May 2001

PORT PHILLIP BAY TO BENEFIT FROM FEDERAL FUNDING


A new benchmark will be set for the proper disposal of marina waste in Port Phillip Bay thanks to a $183,643 Natural Heritage Trust grant announced today by Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill.

"The Sandringham Yacht Club will use the funding for a suite of initiatives aiming to prevent metals, grease and cleaning agents from spilling into the bay," Senator Hill said.

"Sandringham Yacht Club is one of Australia's largest slippers of motor boats and yachts and until now has carried out maintenance and wash down in the waters of Port Phillip Bay.

"This project will see the yacht club capture and prevent contaminated stormwater containing wastes such as anti-fouling products, metals, paint, fibreglass, resins, oil and grease and cleaning agents from flowing into the bay.

"The maintenance yard will be paved to ensure all stormwater is collected, treated and stored - this is expected to see more than 90 per cent of the stormwater reused on site for irrigation and wash down of vessels and the marina. The wash down area will be connected to the sewer and a sullage pit will be built."

The yacht club will also install waste reception facilities at its marina, reducing pollution generated by motor boats, yachts and other vessels.

"Waste discharged from boats at ports is one of Australia's biggest marine pollution threats - it has the potential to kill precious marine species, harm human health and reduce economic benefits to the fishing industry. This project is a great example of people who use the bay deciding to tackle the problem and take responsibility for keeping it healthy," Senator Hill said.

"Port Phillip Bay is a premier tourism and recreational attraction for Victoria. Year round its beaches attract up to 40 million visits from boaters, fishers, swimmers and snorkellers. Its waters are also home to valuable seagrass meadows, which provide essential habitat to juvenile fish and protection for seahorses and pipe fish.

Senator Hill said the project provided a good example of the best ways to dispose of marine waste.

"I hope this funding will lead to other port and marina operators in the bay taking note of the program's environmental benefits and getting involved with its aim to improve disposal facilities throughout the nation."

The project is funded under the Clean Seas Program, which aims to prevent toxic waste from entering the country's ports, marinas and boat harbours.

Funding for the project under the fourth round of the Trust's Coasts and Clean Seas initiative brings a total of $7,835,456 committed to clean seas, coastal monitoring and marine species protection in Victoria.

The $141 million Coasts and Clean Seas initiative supports the conservation, sustainable use and repair of Australia's coastal and marine environments.

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/cleanseas/index.html

May 31, 2001

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

Commonwealth of Australia