VICTORIAN Environment Minister Ryan Smith last week released a new plan to coordinate $1 billion worth of works over the next five years across the state's waterways to improve the health of the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay.
Mr Smith said the plan, 'A Cleaner Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay', sets out a clear path of investment, action and responsibility to improve the quality of the Yarra and Port Phillip Bay and will help drive investment and focus efforts to improve Victoria's iconic waterways.
"This plan outlines the actions we will take to co-ordinate practical, on-ground environmental works to deliver significant, tangible and obvious benefits for the Yarra and Port Phillip Bay," Mr Smith said.
"It's been developed by the Victorian Coalition Government taskforce which I appointed to bring together the key organisations involved in managing the environmental health of our waterways to build on both past and present investment and action."
A Cleaner Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay sets out four key priorities: clearer, more responsive management; preventing pollution and reducing litter; providing user-friendly, accessible information; and support for Victorians to care for and protect the iconic river and bay.
Mr Smith said the action plan set out 17 new priority actions, including:
- Identifying litter hotspots and forming community partnerships to reduce litter;
- Better co-ordinating the work of agencies responsible for protecting the waterways;
- Investigating and trialling improved early warning and community information programs for sewage spills and leaks affecting waterways; and
- Improving key water quality monitoring programs, like the Port Phillip Bay Beach Report.
Mr Smith said access to information about the work now being carried would be improved with more user-friendly applications from agencies, stakeholders and community groups that work toward the health of the Yarra and the Port Phillip Bay.
More information is available from the Department of Sustainability and Environment website at <http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/conservation-and-environment/a-cleaner-yarra-river-and-port-phillip-bay>.