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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
18 July 2003
A $250,000 funding boost to improve water quality in Port Phillip Bay was announced by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, as part of a major policy announcement in Melbourne today.
The funds, which were made available under the Coastal Catchments Initiative, will go towards a Water Quality Improvement Plan for the Bay.
Dr Kemp made the announcement as part of the release of Australia's first regional marine plan, the draft South-east Regional Marine Plan, which takes in more than two million square kilometres of Australia's ocean territory around Victoria, Tasmania, eastern South Australia and southern New South Wales, as well as the sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island.
"The Coastal Catchments Initiative delivers on the Government's commitment to reduce the discharge of pollutants to key coastal and urban water quality hotspots and Port Phillip Bay has been recognised as one of these,'' he said.
"We are working with Victoria to develop a Water Quality Improvement Plan for Port Phillip Bay to address nitrogen loads and environmental flows required to protect the Bay and its estuaries.''
The Plan will build on the Port Phillip Bay State Environment Protection Policy and the associated Environmental Management Plan to identify the most cost effective opportunities for achieving water quality and river flow objectives. Negotiations are expected to be concluded within the next few months.
The draft South-east Regional Marine Plan contains a number of recommended actions that will impact on the environment and communities of Port Phillip Bay. These include:
"The South-east Regional Marine Plan is a exciting step forward for the sustainable development of a vast area of Australia's marine environment and the communities of Port Phillip Bay will be among the chief beneficiaries," said Dr Kemp.