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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
&
Mr Bruce Billson MP
Member for Dunkley

1 September 2004

$3.2 million for Port Phillip and Westernport natural assets


Threatened species, revegetation work and sustainable farming will be the focus of more than $3 million in Australian and State Government funding for the Port Phillip and Westernport Region.

The priority funding was announced today by Australian Ministers for Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, along with Victorian Ministers for Environment and Water, John Thwaites, and Agriculture, Bob Cameron and forms part of a broader funding announcement of $120 million for regions across Victoria.

Senator Campbell said the investment puts money into the hands of the Catchment Management Authority, local government, landholders and community organisations to start urgent on-ground works.

"This includes around $200,000 to a Grow West project near Bacchus Marsh, which will help revegetate 100 hectares of land, assist with monitoring of bird populations before and after planting, and establish a series of educational workshops for landholders," he said.

Mr Thwaites said the biodiversity activities were a great example of a partnership approach that empowers communities to deliver local solutions to local problems.

"The Threatened Orchid National Recovery Plans , which will be implemented with the help of up to $100,000, will include research into 10 species, plant propagation, protection from rabbits, weeds and grazing animals, and training for community members in the conservation of these precious native species," he said.

Mr Truss said the priority work would also activate a number of sustainable farming projects.

"The $60,000 farm forestry project aims to have 50,000 trees planted on new farm forestry sites. The project will establish plantation management field days and aid the success of other surface water management and salinity control activities in the region," he said.

Mr Cameron said an investment of nearly $100,000 would help strengthen partnerships between the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority and Local Governments.

"Healthy Communities – Healthy Catchments is an alternative approach to the management of the urban fringe and will assist councils in engaging communities to minimise their environmental impacts on the Bay," he said.

The $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust and the $1.4 billion National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality form the largest environmental rescue package in the nation's history. More information can be found at www.lendahand.gov.au For more information about the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority, visit www.ppwcma.vic.gov.au or 03 9785 0187.

A full list of projects is attached


Natural Heritage Trust 2004-05 investment for priority projects in Port Phillip and Westernport Region

Description $ NHT 2004-2005
Improvement of the river health and water quality of aquatic systems in the Port Phillip and Westernport catchments $574,000
Melbourne Waterwatch is a water quality education and monitoring program, which aims to increase community understanding, participation and ownership of local water quality issues  
Linking technical/research services to implementing salinity actions and landuse planning in three pilot areas in the PPWPCMA region. The project aims are to increase the resolution of the groundwater flow systems (GFS) framework so it becomes practical for making implementation decisions at the local level. Further, as parts of the pilot areas are designated growth corridors, the project will use GFS to begin the design and planning mechanisms to inform sensible decision making in relation to development in areas with salinity and shallow watertables.  
The Merri Creek corridor provides habitat to rare and threatened species of flora and fauna and ecological communities. Merri Creek Management Committee will manage and restore the existing high conservation areas located on both public and private land through on-ground works.  
Port Phillip and Westernport CMA are developing a Salinity Management Plan. Funding is provided for some capacity to direct the implementation of the SMP across the region, provide strategic direction and leadership in its continued development, investigate common opportunities to address salinity problems between Councils, State agencies and industry  
A review of the Darebin Creek Management Plans will provide in a strategic approach to whole catchment management  
An asset-risk methodology to assess the values and threats relating to natural resource management in the region.  
Endangered species protection and habitat enhancement $305,000
The securing of permanent protection of high priority and high quality vegetation via statutory Trust for Nature covenants, combined with a structured Stewardship Program.  
Implementation of the time critical key elements of the Helmeted Honeyeater Recovery Plan 2004- 2008  
A collaborative project between the State Government (DSE), Parks Victoria, Local Government, Melbourne Zoo, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne University, Victoria University, VicTrack to implement recovery actions for Nationally listed Threatened Orchids detailed in Action Plans.  
The Orange-bellied Parrot Recovery Program is an intensive, multi-disciplinary program aimed at improving the conservation status of this critically-endangered taxon. It is a collaborative effort between the Governments of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.  
Develop success criteria to measure performance and guide reintroduction of Eastern Barred Bandicoots. Comprehensive data on rates of survival and fates of released captive-bred Eastern Barred Bandicoots at a range of reintroduction sites will be collected.  
A review of procedures used for identifying and implementing management actions for the conservation of threatened species, using the Helmeted Honeyeater Program as a case study.  
Improve and rehabilitate biodiversity and the condition of terrestrial ecosystems in the Port Phillip and Westernport catchment $623,000
Living Links is a long-term, integrated landscape change program in the Dandenong Creek area. Living Links will coordinate current activities, influence future planning and attract new investment to the area and will enhance biodiversity corridors that link existing open space, recreational facilities, commercial centres and the Mitcham - Frankston Freeway.  
A community implementation project which aims to conserve biodiversity whilst integrating with normal farming practices.  
A community based project addressing environmental degradation on public land along a section of the Werribee River adjacent to the existing urban area.  
Manningham City Council will implement its Net Gain objective throughout its Green Wedge: (1) Establish a network of permanent monitoring points to track changes in biodiversity over time, (2) Align all relevant Council activities with the Net Gain objective, (3) Establish a new financial incentive program (“Farming Biodiversity”) to facilitate an improvement in the quality of habitat across private land.  
Adaptive management for Coastal Moonah Woodland, an Endangered community. Three sites on the Mornington Peninsula will be targeted.  
Protection of remnant Basalt Escarpment Shrubland and Box Woodland on a publicly owned 200ha site (the cone and some of the slopes of the geologically complex volcanic Mt Holden), which is also a significant landscape feature) from a range of threatening processes.  
Continued employment of a Bushcare Co-ordinator to enable the efficient and effective implementation of the Bushcare program in conjunction with other regional vegetation protection and enhancement programs with the goal of protecting the diversity and extent of priority vegetation, natural ecosystems and species.  
A community program revegetating priority Ecological Vegetation Communities  
Shire of Melton: a rate rebate incentive scheme to leverage private investment in on-ground works to obtain improved and lasting priority environmental outcomes.  
Protection of coastal and marine assets, and estuarine management $414,000
A guide to the marine benthic invertebrates of Port Phillip Bay and Western Port. The guide will take the form of a series of illustrated interactive keys to all species known.  
A part time Reef Watch Facilitator who will actively engage divers, snorkellers and interested community volunteers in marine monitoring.  
Enhancing the capacity of delegated coastal managers (councillors, officers, contractors) of the Port Phillip and Westernport CMA region, so they are able to make informed decisions regarding the management of our coastal environment.  
Coastcare facilitators will directly support Coast and Marine community groups, Community Committee's of Management and Land managers, providing a range of services including; capacity building including organising training, forums, educational material, excursion activities; direct and written technical and administrative advice and on ground support; developing key Education and Awareness initiatives.  
Investigation of the pathways that lead to increased epiphyte growth in seagrass beds  
Building on existing work that has been completed on seagrass replanting and coastal erosion studies in Westernport in the last few years involving in-bay sediment stabilisation trials using a variety of techniques (in cooperation with DSE); seagrass replanting associated with stabilisation trials; and fringing mangrove replanting associated with stabilisation trials.  
Native vegetation management and protection, for biodiversity and land management $635,000
Increasing the species diversity and the extent of the habitat area at Altona Coastal Park and Jawbone Reserve by revegetating with saltmarsh species and allied coastal species.  
Protection of cultural heritage and indigenous flora/fauna through a series of on-ground works at Truganina Explosives Reserve and Truganina Park.  
Grow West is a landscape change project, 50km West of Melbourne around Bacchus Marsh in the upper reaches of the Werribee Catchment. The project funds will be used for On-ground works (revegetate 100ha of land, Education, Monitoring and Evaluation, Grow West Facilitator and Research and Development  
Devolved Grants directed at regional community groups and applicable organisations to undertake small scale works programs (max grant 03/04 $15,000) to address regional priorities.  
Strategy for Aboriginal Managed Land in Victoria (SAMLIV) and aims to enhance the environmental condition of the Aboriginal owned and /or managed land in the region.  
Bunyip/Cardinia Catchment Landcare Network working with partnership agencies, local communities and landholders to achieve significant biodiversity and sustainable land management outcomes that contribute to regional strategic objectives.  
Sustainable land management and catchment scale support $719,000
Provide land managers with sustainable alternatives, through trees, to some potentially degrading current land management practices.  
Continued employment of the three existing Catchment Landcare Coordinators (Werribee and Maribyrnong, Yarra and Dandenong, Westernport)  
Build on relationships established with the 38 Councils in the Port Phillip and Westernport region and help Councils assess the implications and requirements of the RCS with regard to their policies, plans and projects.
Biodiversity conservation and enhancement outcomes through the Bunyip/Cardinia Landcare coordinator project
Support for eight Landcare groups (600 families) in the Westernport region, through a Landcare Facilitator.  
Healthy Communities – Healthy Catchments' is an alternative approach to the issue of Urban Fringe – A Challenge for Landcare. This project aims to strengthen partnerships between the Authority and Local Government.  
Assistance will be provided to build the capacity of planners and managers to meet the challenges faced through increasing development pressure, particularly local government through planning tools and information to boost NRM capacity in the coastal catchments of Western Port.  
Total $3,270,000

 

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