Constituency Question: Merri Creek
Ms SPENCE (Yuroke) (11:51:03) — (13 434) My constituency question is to the Minister for Water. What is the Andrews Labor government doing to protect Merri Creek and adjacent land in the Yuroke electorate? Friends of Merri Creek do a terrific job protecting the creek through community education and group activities, and recent reports by their volunteers of pollution and rubbish dumping have been disturbing. One local resident reported collecting seven full garbage bags of rubbish from the creek in Somerton, containing drink bottles and a disused fire extinguisher. I know that many Yuroke residents would appreciate any information the minister can provide on what the government is doing to keep our local waterways healthy and clean. I look forward to her response.
The Victorian Government is committed to improving the health of waterways and catchments, including Merri Creek. In 2016/17, in its role as manager of waterway health in the Port Phillip & Westernport region, Melbourne Water spent:
- over $1.4 million on direct, on-ground improvement works within the Merri Creek catchment comprising maintenance and capital programs focused on erosion control, invasive weed control and revegetation works;
- $60,000 towards supporting community groups and private landowners to carry out weed control and revegetation on land adjacent to local waterways in the Merri Creek catchment; and
- $87,000 through its Living Rivers Program to Cleaner Creeks: Everyone’s Business, a Hume City Council project which aims to reduce stormwater pollution in Merri Creek and Merlynston Creek.
Melbourne Water also undertakes an ongoing maintenance program to remove litter from waterways, including the removal of more than 20 cubic metres of litter from the Merri Creek catchment in 2016/17.
Victoria has relatively low levels of litter compared to other states, and over the past year recorded a 27 per cent reduction in litter items; 47 per cent below the national average.
Of course, there is no room for complacency and the Victorian Government is taking action to further reduce the environmental impacts of litter and plastic pollution, including banning single-use, lightweight plastic shopping bags.
A discussion paper on the ban and the broader issue of plastic pollution has recently been released seeking input from businesses, local government and the community to help design a plastic bag ban that is effective and lasting. The paper also seeks feedback on what else can be done to manage other types of plastic pollution in our state. Further details can be found at www.engage.vic.gov.a u/waste/plastic-pollution.
The government is also investing $30.4 million in waste management over the next four years, including litter programs to help ensure Victoria’s litter rates remain the lowest in Australia.
Hon Lisa Neville MP
Minister for Water