Thursday 8 February 2018

Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing today announced that another round of community led projects to protect and enhance the iconic Gippsland Lakes have been funded.

Ms Shing said the funding boost would help continue to deliver a range of projects to protect the health of local waterways.

Four integrated programs worth $4.717 million are now underway including:

• Improving the Wetlands of Jones Bay ($1.45 million)
• Lake Wellington and Fringing Wetlands Integrated NRM Program ($1.8 million)
• Protecting Traditional Owner Country of the Gippsland Lakes Outer Barrier ($1.1 million)
• Understanding and Improving Aquatic Habitats and Ecosystems ($0.367 million).

These programs will directly involve 22 regional delivery partners including the Traditional Owners of the Gippsland Lakes; the Gunaikurnai people, and all key land and waterway managers.

The Protecting Traditional Owner Country of the Gippsland Lakes Outer Barrier project will be led by the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation and focus on maintaining and restoring habitats; protecting fauna; and integrating Aboriginal and European knowledge and management.

A second round of community grants worth $252,683 has also been awarded to five community projects to protect and improve the health of the Lakes. The successful projects include:

• Eagle Point Reserve Restoration – Gippsland Plains Conservation Network
• Stage 2 Expansion of Heyfield Wetlands: revegetation – Heyfield Wetlands Committee of Management
• Australian Pelicans as a platform for citizen science and drought refuge studies – Birdlife East Gippsland/Birdlife Australia
• Study of Australasian Bittern movements as an indicator of wetland health – Birdlife East Gippsland/Birdlife Australia
• Flynn Creek Enhancement Program: Stage 2 – Latrobe Catchment Landcare Network

The Gippsland Lakes Coordinating Committee – appointed by Minister for Water Lisa Neville in January 2016 – worked with catchment management authorities, Parks Victoria and Traditional Owner groups to assess project applications against the Gippsland Lakes Priorities Plan and allocate funding to the successful applicants.

This round of funding is from the Labor Government’s $10 million Gippsland Lakes initiative announced by Ms Shing in October 2016 and builds on the $3.15 million already delivered for 16 projects in January this year.

The Gippsland Lakes initiative is part of the Labor Government’s broader $222 million investment to improve the health of waterways and catchments across regional Victoria. This investment is a key component of Water for Victoria – the government’s plan for management of our water resources now and into the future.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing:

“We love our lakes, and I welcome the Andrews Labor Government’s commitment to protecting and enhancing their health.”

“The Gippsland Lakes is a key waterway for regional Victoria and it’s fantastic to be able to support the important work undertaken by the Traditional Owners of this land.”

“Community groups are showing us more than ever that they can play an important role in protecting and improving the health of regional waterways.”