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Natural Heritage Trust

Media Release

6 December 1999


The environmental values of Victoria's Central West Coast will be better protected through a project to improve planning and management, Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Robert Hill, said today.

The Federal Government has provided $201,340 through its $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust for the Coastal and Marine Planning Program: Central West Coast of Victoria project to ensure improved coordination between coastal and marine uses and users in the region.

"The Central West Coast of Victoria covers some of Australia's most spectacular coast along the Great Ocean Road," Senator Hill said.

"The region contains nationally significant coastal, marine and intertidal environments, is rich in Aboriginal and European cultural heritage, and provides habitats for threatened flora and fauna species.

"The unique coastal environment is also a popular place for recreation and supports an expanding tourism industry."

But, as in many parts of Australia, decisions about the management and use of the coast have been ad hoc.

"Thorough planning is necessary to reduce pressures on coastal and marine environments from such factors as tourism and urban development," Senator Hill said.

"Projects such as this, involving a range of government agencies, are contributing to improving the management of our marine and coastal ecosystems, and ensuring their environmental values are protected." The project, being coordinated by the Surf Coast Shire, is a joint venture with the Borough of Queenscliffe, City of Greater Geelong, Colac Otway Shire, Western Coastal Board, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Parks Victoria and Environment Australia.

Management issues will be addressed through a Memorandum of Understanding, signed today by relevant agencies, and the development of a Coastal Action Plan.

Senator Hill said it was important for the local community to have their say on the use and management of the region's coastal and marine values and urged people to participate in community workshops being held as part of the project.

The Coastal and Marine Planning Program aims to stimulate partnerships across governments, industry and the community to promote the sustainable use of the coastal and marine environment. The program is part of the Natural Heritage Trust's Coasts and Cleans Seas initiative.

Contact: Rod Bruem (Senator Hill's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
Margie Morrice (CMPP Project Officer) 03 5261 0600
Tim Allen (Marine and Coastal Community Network - Victoria) 03 9650 4846
Margaret Tailby (Environment Australia) 02 6274 2894

Commonwealth of Australia