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Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
7 March 2002
Coastcare groups around Australia are standing by to welcome the tall ship Windeward Bound into their local ports, to highlight their important work protecting the marine and coastal environment.
Farewelling the ship as it sails from Sydney's Darling Harbour today, Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage David Kemp said Coastcare, a program of the Federal Government's $2.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust, is an enthusiastic partner of the Windeward Bound. Coastcare is contributing $270 000 to the historic voyage commemorating the bicentennial of Matthew Flinders' circumnavigation of Australia.
"I am also farewelling three of the seven winners of a competition for young Australians run by Coastcare and The Australian, who are joining the crew for the first leg of the Windeward Bound's journey.
"All the winners impressed the judges with their knowledge about issues impacting on the marine environment by describing in 100 words some of the problems and suggesting solutions.
"The first three sailing on the Windeward Bound for a leg of the journey - about two weeks - are Katherine Hall of Wollongong, NSW, Julia Lee of Hurstville, NSW and Finnian Lattimore of Canberra, ACT. They'll be pitching in with the crew while learning about Flinders' life and Australia's oceans, coasts and marine life.
"Other winners are Gareth Jones of Port Macquarie, NSW, Lawrence McIntosh of Gladstone, Queensland and Georgina Dimopoulos of North Balwyn, Victoria. They'll join the Windeward Bound for two-week legs at ports close to their homes.
"The seventh winner is still being decided from the many strong entries we received.
"The Windeward Bound's voyage will draw nation-wide attention to Australia's unique marine and coastal environment.
"As the crew survey the state of the coastline and compare it with Matthew Flinders' observations we'll all learn more about our society's impact on the environment over the last 200 years. We hope that this will inspire Australians, particularly those living in coastal communities, to become involved in practical activities to conserve and repair their coasts.
"Dedicated Coastcare volunteers around the country are planning local activities to coincide with the arrival of the Windeward Bound into ports in their cities and towns. They'll use this wonderful opportunity to draw attention to the problems affecting their coastlines and how with the help of Coastcare funding they are coming up with solutions to address them.
"Beach clean-up days, dune planting, and interactive displays are all ways that Coastcare groups are able to showcase their activities to the community.
"The Windeward Bound will also be passing on an environmental message. With help from the
$15 million Coastcare program, the crew is recording sightings of marine species including whales and dolphins and they will also trial marine water quality monitoring techniques.
"The ship has also been freshly painted with a non-toxic anti-fouling paint, thanks to the Natural Heritage Trust's Anti-fouling Program. All marine vessels use anti-fouling paint to protect their hulls from build-up of marine pests and algae, but traditional paints can harm the environment. The paint used on the Windeward Bound is free of toxic chemicals.
"The Government is working to phase out toxic anti-fouling paints," Dr Kemp said.
Coastcare is a $15 million, national program that supports community involvement in coastal management and protection. Coastcare focuses on practical actions and on-ground works that tackle the causes of environmental degradation. Federal, State and Local Governments provide support to the Coastcare program in a variety of ways. Building on its current successes, Coastcare is being expanded to include all of the Government's coastal and marine activities under the Natural Heritage Trust. There are nearly 2000 Coastcare groups and approximately 60 000 individuals actively involved in Coastcare nationally.
The Windeward Bound will return to Sydney in July 2003. It is re-enacting Matthew Flinders' voyage 200 years ago when he was the first to map the entire coastline of the country and call it Australia.
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
On March 7 2002 the Windeward Bound will embark on an historic voyage around Australia, commemorating the bicentennial of Matthew Flinders' circumnavigation of the country. Flinders was the first person to map the entire country and to call it Australia.
The $15 million Coastcare program, funded through the Commonwealth Government's $2.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust, is a proud sponsor of this epic voyage, contributing $270,000.
Over 60,000 people and nearly 2000 community groups have been involved in Coastcare activities Australia wide. The tireless efforts of volunteers combined with the Commonwealth's Natural Heritage Trust funding have tackled a range of projects including weed removal, dune and headland protection, wetland restoration, the construction of boardwalks and viewing platforms, cultural awareness and marine and intertidal zone awareness.
Coastcare estimates that volunteers have built approximately 186 kilometres of fencing and 67 kilometres of paths, removed 1,500 hectares of weeds and planted 610,000 native plants.
The Windeward Bound tallship is sailing in a marine friendly way from port to port delivering the Coastcare message - that all Australians should care for their coast.
The Commonwealth Government's Anti-fouling Program and Wattyl Paints supplied the Windeward Bound with a special anti-fouling paint that is environmentally safe. Anti-fouling paints prevent the build up of organisms on the hulls of boats, which help it to move more efficiently through water. However, some paints contain tributyltin (TBT), a chemical that is toxic to marine organisms. The Windeward Bound is showing that using anti-fouling paints that are 'TBT free is the way to be'.
The Government is working with industry on a range of measures to test less toxic alternatives to traditional anti-fouling paints. More than $600,000 from the Natural Heritage Trust is helping the shipping industry test these alternatives and monitor the impact on the marine environment.
Coastcare is helping the crew of the Windeward Bound record sightings of whales and dolphins as the ship sails the coastline over the next 18 months by providing them with expert advice on the best methods for collecting the information. The records are useful for scientists and coastal environmental managers because they are collected using a standard methodology around the entire country.
The crew is also monitoring the ocean's water quality by conducting a range of tests in the waterways around ports. These include analysis for plankton numbers and variety, measuring salinity, temperature, turbidity (level of particulate matter in the water) and phosphate levels, and testing for the presence of oils and lead.
When the crew visits remote beaches it will conduct marine debris surveys by classifying the types of waste found.
The ship is embracing a 'then and now' theme and the crew will be drawing sketches of the same sites Matthew Flinders sketched when he sailed and surveyed the coast of Australia in 1802-03. From these observations it will be possible to compare the state of our marine environment to that of 200 years ago.
The Windeward Bound's voyage will highlight coastal and marine issues affecting all of us, and showcase some of the great work done by our Coastcare volunteers, all made possible by the Commonwealth Government's Natural Heritage Trust and its commitment to our coast.
For more information:
Environment Australia Public Affairs: Eleanor Dean (02) 6274 1817
|Coastcare is a program of the Commonwealth Government's Natural Heritage Trust in partnership with State/Territory and Local Governments.|