The Morrison Government is delivering $300,000 to help protect the exceptional biodiversity of Australia’s Mornington Peninsula and the Western Port Biosphere.
The Biosphere holds a uniquely wide range of habitat types and mix of environmental landscapes, including National and Marine Parks. This diversity made it a significant environmental area, identified as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program.
The funding, to be delivered over three years, will support the Biosphere’s much-needed work of balancing conservation and sustainable development within the region.
Federal Member for Flinders, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, welcomed the investment through the Environment Restoration Fund and praised the actions of the community in supporting environmental stewardship.
“The team at the Western Port Biosphere do incredible work in protecting and studying our local flora and fauna,” Mr Hunt said. “This delivered election commitment provides them with long term certainty in funding so that they can get on with the job of conservationism throughout the Western Port region.”
“The Biosphere will adopt a multidisciplinary approach, communicating with a range of cultural groups and communities on the need to protect the region. This will include forums and seminars to help increase community understanding of the development pressures on mammals, waterbirds and marine species.”
Biosphere Reserves are recognised by UNESCO to promote sustainable development and to encourage communities to develop sustainable ways of meeting social and economic needs. They support this through research, monitoring, education and information exchange.
The Western Port Biosphere’s new Chair, Jo McCoy, welcomed the arrival of the first payment to the Biosphere. “This support matches the amount that our local governments collectively provide each year” she said. “This shows a real partnership between these levels of government.”
“Few Australians can say that they live in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, but we can. The Mornington Peninsula and the wonderful Western Port environment, including the Ramsar wetlands and the endangered international migratory bird species that live here, should be a continuing source of pride for us all. These funds will also help us work even more closely with our community to educate people about the Biosphere and bring many more people into caring for it.”
The Biosphere’s Executive Officer, Mr Greg Hunt, added “This funding support will help the Biosphere develop further projects to explore how we might answer the fundamental question of how we meet human needs without damaging the environment on which we and all other species depend.”
Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, described the Western Port area as a precious Australian and international asset.
“As well as being a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, this region is home to endangered mammals like the Southern brown bandicoot and fish such as the Australian grayling,” Ms Ley said.
“It is a vital stop in the migratory flyway of more than 30 species of international migratory shorebirds—a number of which are highly-endangered.
“This internationally-important wetland is covered under the Ramsar Convention and is subject to three Australian migratory bird agreements with China, Japan and Korea.”