The Mornington Peninsula will share in the Morrison-McCormack Government’s $61.7 million budget spending on environmental restoration and recovery measures, through the $1 billion COVID Relief Fund.
Federal Member for Flinders, Greg Hunt MP, said that this investment will create jobs, boost local tourism and preserve our environment as part of our economic recovery plan.
The Mornington Peninsula will benefit from one of 23 heritage projects identified to receive funding as part of the package, with $1.8 million to be provided to support and extend shellfish reefs in Port Phillip Bay.
Minister Hunt said that the funding would play an important role in helping the local economy.
“This $1.8 million project will build on the 5.5 hectares of shellfish reefs restored by The Nature Conservancy Australia from 2017 to 2020, extending the reef array by an additional 5 hectares across key sites in Port Phillip Bay, including in the coastal waters off Dromana,” Minister Hunt said.
“Monitoring of rebuilt shellfish reefs built from 2017 to 2019 has confirmed Nature Conservancy Australia’s success, with up to 80% of shellfish surviving and good natural recruitment from wild stocks.”
“Locally, this project will create jobs and build on the work of volunteers across the whole of Port Phillip Bay. I look forward to seeing the continued work and improvement of our marine habitats, especially here in Dromana.”
The rebuilt reefs are proving to be important nursery habitats for an array of species, including pink snapper, whiting, hulafish and snapping shrimp.
More than 600 volunteers have supported this project through various citizen science activities, shell collection and cleaning, as well as reef monitoring.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the funding would create or support more than 1,000 jobs while assisting the recovery efforts of many regional communities affected by the pandemic and recent bushfires.
“These initiatives will sustain jobs and local businesses, improve facilities and encourage people to visit regional communities and world heritage sites,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“We are talking about projects that will create lasting legacies in regional centres, small towns and on the Great Barrier Reef, which will be a big boost to local communities.”
Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said that the announcements showed the Morrison Government is delivering practical and lasting environmental outcomes, partnering with both State and Territory governments and local communities.
“These initiatives invest in projects that sustain jobs and local businesses, improve facilities and encourage people to visit regional communities when they are able to do so,” Minister Ley said.
“We want to bring people closer to our wonderful heritage places/natural environment and we want to help them be a part of protecting and preserving our environment for generations to come.”
National funding under the Morrison Government’s $61.7 million investment in environmental and heritage projects includes:
• $33.5 million for heritage upgrades to fund conservation work, infrastructure upgrades across 23 national and world heritage sites, preserving and enhancing them while creating jobs and lasting benefits for our tourism industry.
• A $20 million reef builder program to be invested in at least 11 bushfire and COVID-19-affected coastal communities to rescue native marine ecosystems from the risk of local extinction, rejuvenating local fish stocks and creating spectacular tourism dive sites in the process.
• $8.2 million to support Great Barrier Reef projects including $3.2 million to engage tourism operators in reef monitoring and surveillance, along with $5 million for Townsville’s Reef HQ.