MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (09:38): I rise today to congratulate volunteers working with three wetland projects in south-west Victoria—BirdLife Australia, the Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Network and the Nature Glenelg Trust—each receiving a $20 000 grant as part of the Volunteering Innovation Fund, which is part of Victoria’s Great Outdoors program. This $2 million grants program commenced last year and will run until 2023.
The unique environment of the region is the focus of these outstanding projects. BirdLife Australia will work in the Glenelg Hopkins catchment to monitor and record birds in wetlands, using acoustic monitors deployed by newly trained volunteers. These recordings will form an important resource which will be available online for researchers and enthusiasts alike. The Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Network will engage first-time volunteers in environmental surveying within the Belfast Coastal Reserve, measuring biodiversity in salt water and Kelly Swamp. The new citizen scientists will be from boating and kayaking clubs, fishing groups and schools. The Nature Glenelg Trust is focusing their work on wetlands within the Gariwerd landscape. In these ecologically rich areas volunteers will use video and audio technologies to collect data that will support wetland restoration. Another highlight is that these projects create an opportunity for intergenerational mentoring and collaboration. The next grant round opens this month, and this time the public can vote for projects that support volunteers and our environment.