Reactions are mixed to riparian action plan

By Country News on December 23, 2015

The Victorian Government’s new riparian action plan contains no funding for land care, National Party leader Peter Walsh said.

‘‘The Andrews Government has again failed to properly fund the protection of Victorian riverbanks,’’ Mr Walsh said.

He said before the last election, the Coalition committed to a $45million program for fencing Crown land river frontages.

However, he said there was no funding for riparian land care in the forward estimates.

Mr Walsh said the launch of the action plan was the ideal time for Premier Daniel Andrews to make a serious funding commitment from the Environmental Contributions Levy fund to help protect riparian reserves.

‘‘Farmers will also want Daniel Andrews to guarantee that the Crown land fencing program will remain voluntary.’’

Meanwhile, Environment Victoria has welcomed the plan.

Chief executive officer Mark Wakeham said the plan was great news for Victoria’s rivers and would provide new initiatives and funding to help restore the health of the state’s freshwater ecosystems.

‘‘Healthy river banks are critical for the environment and people; they improve water quality, filter nutrients, provide habitat for native animals and are enjoyed by thousands of Victorians every year,’’ Mr Wakeham said.

‘‘The impact of livestock on rivers is well known. Loss of biodiversity, increased erosion, polluted water and impacts on human health are all well documented.

‘‘With the impact of climate change, Victorian river corridors are increasingly important refuges and migration routes for native plants and animals.

‘‘Projects funded as part of the action plan will create hundreds of regional jobs that restore our environment and strengthen Landcare and other community networks,’’ Mr Wakeham said.

By Country News on December 23, 2015

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