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The Hon Peter Garrett MP
Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts

Great Lakes water quality improvement plan launched

Media release
1 April 2010
PG/33

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Minister for Environment Protection Peter Garrett today launched a new plan to improve the water quality of the Great Lakes on the New South Wales lower North Coast.

The Great Lakes Water Quality Improvement Plan will help reduce the level of pollution entering Wallis, Myall and Smith Lakes, which together form the Great Lakes water system.

The Great Lakes system is a priority coastal hotspot and Myall Lake is a wetland of international importance under the international Ramsar Convention.

"The Australian Government recognises the high ecological value of the magnificent Great Lakes water system and its importance to the local economy," Mr Garrett said.

The Great Lakes system provides habitat for a diverse number of native flora and flora species, including large numbers of waterbirds, and also supports significant oyster, fishing, tourism and recreation industries.

The Great Lakes Water Quality Improvement Plan was developed with funding by the Australian Government in partnership with the local community, industries and agencies and is designed to address nutrient hotspots in the three estuaries.

"The Australian Government is committed to working with the local community to protect the rich ecology of the Great Lakes through the Great Lakes Water Quality Improvement Plan," Mr Garrett said.

"The Water Quality Improvement Plan will provide a clear framework for reducing nutrient levels in the Great Lakes using scientific modelling, tools for informed decision making and improved agricultural and urban design practices for water management.

"The Plan will also focus on providing opportunities for capacity building and joint learning with stakeholders, as well as creating opportunities to raise awareness of water quality issues and catchment management within the wider community.

"The Great Lakes Water Quality Improvement Plan is part of the Australian Government's commitment under the National Water Quality Management Strategy to protecting our environmentally precious coastal waterways by working with communities, industry and other levels of government to reduce pollution," Mr Garrett said.

The Great Lakes is one of nine priority coastal hotspots identified for open-call funding applications under the Caring for our Country program this year. Applications under the Caring for our Country Business Plan close 15 April 2010.

Commonwealth of Australia