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7 December 2009
The more than 60,000 volunteers in coastal communities around the country should be proud of their role in protecting Australia’s coastline from the impacts of climate change during Coastcare Week 7-13 December, Environment Minister Peter Garrett said today.
Launching Coastcare Week at Collaroy Beach in Sydney the Minister congratulated the efforts of Australia’s approximately 2000 volunteer Coastcare groups, and called for all Australians to support their invaluable work.
“It has never been more important to take action to protect our coastlines,” Mr Garrett said.
“We know that climate change will bring rising sea levels and increased storm surges to our coasts, threatening homes and coastal habitats.
“Through the efforts of Coastcare volunteers we are helping to protect our coastlines by planting trees and protecting and stabilising dunes to help reduce beach erosion, such as the damage that can be seen here at Collaroy and at other beaches around Australia.
“Cleaning up rubbish and weeds from coastal catchments, wetlands and estuaries will improve water quality, providing a better environment for native plants and animals.
“Healthy ecosystems will be essential in the face of climate change impacts.”
Mr Garrett said that through its Caring for our Country initiative the Australian Government has provided more than $146 million to projects around Australia’s coasts.
“Through Caring for our Country we are committed to increasing community participation in protecting and rehabilitating coastal environments and critical aquatic habitats.
“We all need to work together to protect our coasts and the central role they play in our way of life.
“That is why the Australian Government commissioned the Climate Change Risks to Australia’s Coasts report, which has recently been released.
“And that is also why, next year, the Australian Government will host a Climate Change Forum to bring together all levels of government in informing a national response to this significant challenge to our coast-focused way of life.
“I encourage all Australians to take the opportunity this week to join a local activity for coastal protection.”