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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment


21 August 1998

The Howard Government is backing community efforts to protect and conserve one of Victoria's greatest natural assets - the spectacular coastline of the Great Ocean Road.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has allocated $200,000 from the Natural Heritage Trust for a key coastal planning project covering the Great Ocean Road from Point Lonsdale to Marengo.

A second project worth $75,000 will allow councils, community groups and industry to develop similar planning for the Western Port region.

Senator Hill says the two areas are important both in terms of ecological values and significance to the economy.

"The Great Ocean Road coastline is one of the most beautiful in Australia and is home to a truly diverse range of biodiversity. Apart from its outstanding ecological value, the region is also an important revenue generator for the Victorian economy through both domestic and international tourism.

"This funding will allow the Surf Coast Shire, along with other local councils and environment agencies, to develop a strategic coastal and marine plan for their part of the Great Ocean Road.

"They will involve the community and industry in designing a plan which will promote the sustainable use and protection of the region."

Senator Hill says the Western Port also has conservation values which deserve special care and protection.

"Western Port is home to the Phillip Island penguins, the biologically rich Seal Rocks, and diverse habitats ranging from deep channels to seagrass flats, and extensive thickets to saltmarsh vegetation.

"Like the Great Ocean Road region, Western Port is a popular recreation area which is coming under increasing pressure from tourism, residential growth and industry. This project will also allow local councils to take the lead in bringing together the community and industry to map out a strategy to protect the environmental values of the region."

Senator Hill says the funds have been made available from the $125 million Coasts and Clean Seas Initiative under the Natural Heritage Trust.

Media contact:
Matt Brown 02 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515
August 21, 1998

Commonwealth of Australia