Coastal communities from the Bellarine Peninsula to the Otways and along the Great Ocean Road will benefit from significant Australian Government funding to help them restore and protect the habitat and health of their native fauna and flora.
Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the Morrison Government has committed $7.5 million to two new, Victorian-based initiatives from the $100 million Environment Restoration Fund.
“These initiatives will extend conservation efforts in the region and benefit species such as the southern brown bandicoot, white-footed dunnart, new holland mouse, long-nosed potoroo and smoky mouse,” Minister Ley said.
Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson said the Morrison Government was delivering on its election commitment to provide two local environment programs to combat coastal erosion and to deliver projects which protect native plants and habitat for wildlife.
“The $6 million Wild Otways Initiative will deliver a suite of projects integrating research and on-ground actions to address environmental threats to the biodiversity of the region, from Bells Beach to Peterborough and the Otways hinterland.
“The $1.5 million Bellarine and Great Ocean Road Dunecare Project will restore and protect sand dunes from the Bellarine Peninsula along the Great Ocean Road to Marengo, through on-ground works with local land managers and a school education program,” Senator Henderson said.
The community grants application process will open in November.
Other actions to be undertaken in the Wild Otways Initiative include:
- feral pig and deer management to protect native species and critical habitat;
- fox and feral cat control and research to protect threatened species;
- protecting plant and animal biodiversity from Phytophthora dieback by preventing its introduction and spread into critical habitat areas;
- research to conserve threatened small mammals by determining the critical factors that support their survival in some areas; and
- support for the ‘rewilding’ of threatened small mammals, leading to the return of species such as the new holland mouse and smoky mouse to the Otway Ranges.
Traditional Owners and local communities will be engaged in projects being undertaken for both initiatives, ensuring that they deliver outcomes for the environment, threatened species and for local communities. School students will have a hands-on role in local dune conservation and protection.
The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority has been contracted to deliver both initiatives.