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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

5 November 2002

$1.8 Million to Protect Coastal Water Quality Hotspots


Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today announced $1.8 million funding this year for a rolling Natural Heritage Trust project to improve water quality in Australia's urban rivers and their estuaries.

Opening the Coast to Coast Conference in Tweed Heads, Dr Kemp said the first tranche of $1.8 million for the Coastal Catchments Initiative would be used to begin the work of improving the condition of important urban river estuaries and coastal waters through a range of measures including the promotion of water sensitive urban design, the re-use of wastewater and stormwater, reducing urban stormwater run-off and by addressing industrial discharges.

Further funding for the Initiative, which will be for the life of the Trust through to 2006/2007, will be decided in annual budget discussions.

Dr Kemp said the initiative was an important step towards the fulfilment of the Howard Government's commitment to develop a national coastal policy in concert with State and local governments.

Discussions are well advanced with South Australia on a project involving the Port River/Port Adelaide, with the aim of improving water quality in a highly industrialised environment to protect a fish nursery, seagrass beds, and important dolphin habitat.

In southern Queensland projects for the Brisbane River/Moreton Bay, and for the Mary River/Hervey Bay estuarine environments were underway with the Queensland Government. Dr Kemp said Melbourne's Port Philip Bay and the Derwent Estuary at Hobart were other water quality "hot spots" he would like to see targeted.

"The Federal Government will be working in partnership with State and local governments and with industry and landowners to take a comprehensive approach that yields long term results," Dr Kemp said.

"This new approach implements the Government's Framework for Marine and Estuarine Water Quality Protection and augments the highly successful Living Cities Program."

The State of the Environment Report released early this year highlighted the need to improve the condition of our coastal waters. Many areas are at risk from toxic algal blooms, seagrass loss and damage to habitat and fisheries values from land sourced pollution.

This year's Coast to Coast Conference theme is Source to Sea which emphasises land-based pollution and its significance for coastal management.

For more information on the Coastal Catchments Initiative see http://www.ea.gov.au/coasts/pollution/cci/

Media Contacts:
Catherine Job Dr David Kemp's Office 6277 7640 Mobile 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia