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Media Release
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray

12 September 2001

3 Million Victorians to Benefit from New Plan for Port Phillip Bay


Over three million Victorians live, work and relax in the Port Phillip Bay area. The ten coastal councils around the Bay met today to discuss how best to protect and preserve the fragile and often damaged coastal and marine environment of the area.

Launching the Coastal and Marine Planning Program for Victoria in Melbourne today, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone, said the Port Phillip Bay councils had a special role in ensuring the Victorian Coastal Strategy achieved a healthier bay.

"In the past Port Phillip Bay has been treated as the swamp of Melbourne. Storm water and debris from the streets of the city have been washed into drains and out into the bay. Too often sewerage and other pollutants have ended up in the water. And in the past under-regulated fishing and shoreline collection of shellfish has stripped the bay of many of its species", Sharman Stone said.

"Port Phillip Bay covers an area of nearly 2000 square km and has over 260 km of coastline. It has significant cultural, historic, economic and environmental value for all Victorians".

"Port Phillip Bay catchment is home to the City of Melbourne Port. Major industrial facilities, including Altona's petrochemical site, as well as the fine beaches make up this unique area", Sharman Stone said.

"The Federal Government recognises the stresses on the Bay and has granted $200,000 to the Association of Bayside Municipalities (ABM) to help manage the Bay and its catchment area, in line with Victoria's Coastal Strategy".

Sharman Stone said that it was pleasing to see both State and Local Governments contributing funding and working together with the assistance of Federal Government representatives, to find solutions to the many coastal management issues in this region.

The Howard Government has invested $125 million in the Coast and Clean Seas Initiative as part of the Natural Heritage Trust to bring Federal, State and Local Governments into partnership as part of Australia's largest ever environmental rescue package.

"Today's Symposium and the launch of the new planning document marks the culmination of over two years work to implement an effective management strategy which aims to help preserve, restore and maintain the uniqueness of Port Phillip Bay. This is an important celebration of achievement to date and the beginning of a sustainable future for one of the most beautiful parts of Australia", Sharman Stone said.

"With 30 million visitors coming to the area every year to enjoy its recreational values, it is important that adjoining councils work together to keep the unique environmental characteristics of our great southern coastline for future generations", Sharman Stone said.

Contact:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468

September 12th 2001

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Commonwealth of Australia