TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is for the Minister for
Environment and Climate Change, Gavin Jennings. Will the minister update the
house on how the Brumby Labor government is taking action to protect Victoria’s
catchments and help communities to restore our land and water systems?
JENNINGS (Minister for Environment and Climate Change) — I thank Ms Tierney
for her question and the opportunity to talk about some very significant
investments that the Victorian government has made in the last week to provide
support to those great organisations throughout regional Victoria, catchment
management authorities (CMAs), which provide a great quality of land care and
deal with the variety of environmental challenges that are confronted within our
catchments and which are committed to improving the quality of our waterways and
the agricultural productivity of our land, trying to protect biodiversity,
trying to enhance environmental values and dealing with the pests and weeds that
sometimes bedevil the landscape and place great stress on our natural
environment. The community can be very grateful for the capacity and capability
of the catchment management authorities in undertaking that work. The government
is committed to enhancing that work.
Some $28.5 million has been allocated in the last week to
support that work across the Victorian landscape. Of that, $2.8 million has been
allocated specifically across the state to support threatened species and
protect biodiversity. As well $800 000 has been provided on a statewide basis to
deal specifically with native vegetation programs that straddle all of those
A number of specific projects will be funded within each of
those CMAs to deal with some of the particular needs and concerns of local
communities — for example, to deal with soil integrity, and a number of CMAs in
the electorate Ms Tierney represents deal with the quality of soils. It may be
in the Mallee or the Glenelg Hopkins CMA area. In the Corangamite CMA area the
volcanic plains, which are very threatened and very important to our community
environmentally and socially, should be protected. A range of programs support
the quality of estuaries and the Ramsar wetland sites within the CMA area at
Mr Koch interjected.
Mr JENNINGS — It seems that Mr Koch has had a burst of life
today. He is pretty keen to be part of this story, and he has achieved that
outcome. Well done!
A number of CMAs are working on a number of important wetlands,
estuaries and water quality issues both in terms of the quality of streams and
the quality of wetlands and dealing with sediment that might end up in the
Gippsland Lakes — so Mr Hall might see himself as part of this story, because
that is an issue that he is very concerned about. The East Gippsland CMA will be
dealing with sediment outcomes in the Gippsland Lakes.
In the north extensive work is being done with salinity and
sediment in the Murray River system by the Goulburn Broken CMA. Along the
Murray, the North Central CMA will be dealing with the quality of environmental
protection within the Gunbower Forest. In the north-east the CMA will be dealing
with the quality of alpine peatlands and restoring and enhancing their values.
Right across the breadth and width of Victoria, whether it be
on the coast or in the high country, there will be a range of environmental
protections provided through this important funding. We thank the CMAs for their
ongoing contribution to the quality of Victoria’s environment and the community
engagement that supports their activity. The Brumby government is very keen to
continue and build on that capability, and the $28.5 million allocation will
assist CMAs to do that. We look forward to developing capability and better
environmental outcomes for working through this great model of natural resource
management in Victoria.