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Media Release
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage

4 December 2006

Westernport environmental volunteer awarded national coastal prize

Westernport volunteer Dr Tim Ealey has won a national award in recognition of his coastal revegetation work in Victoria's Coronet Bay.

Dr Ealey, 80, was today announced as the winner of the $5000 Minister's Award for Coastal Custodians, marking the start of national Coastcare Week.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, said he was delighted to announce the win to Dr Ealey.

"This is a great achievement for Dr Ealey, whose pioneering work was ranked at the top of 26 nominations from around Australia," Mr Hunt said.

"I am particularly pleased because Dr Ealey made a valuable contribution in a rehabilitation campaign to improve degraded coastal areas at Blind Bight and Lang Lang, in my electorate.

"Dr Ealey's work typifies the characteristics recognised in the Minister's Award, identifying a problem, using initiative, garnering volunteer support and raising awareness of coastal environment issues.

"At the age of 80, Dr Ealey is achieving incredible results for his local coastal environment, fighting against erosion and planting thousands of mangrove seedlings to rejuvenate coastal and marine ecosystems.

"As someone who has been literally up to my knees in mud to support Dr Ealey, I am delighted that this quiet achiever has been named the Minister's Coastal Custodian of 2006."

Dr Ealey experimented with a range of planting techniques and despite losing much of the work in floods, has established thousands of mangrove seedlings in Coronet Bay.

Earlier this year, Dr Ealey obtained an Australian Government Community Water Grant to expand his planting programme at the Bass Valley Primary School and enabled him to build a glass house to germinate mangrove seeds.

Dr Ealey received volunteer support from five separate community groups for his revegetation work over the past three years.

Media contact:
John Deller on 0400 496 596 or Gina Schwass on 0418 620 020

Commonwealth of Australia