The Victorian Government has granted Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation nearly $450,000 for works at Murrk Ngubitj Yarram Yaluk, the site of Barwon Water’s former Bellarine Basin, which is being transformed into 30 hectares of public open space.
Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation Interim CEO Liam Murphy said the organisation was thrilled to receive the funding for the important project, that would go toward improving the local environment in line with Wadawurrung values.
“Working with Barwon Water on the exciting Murrk Ngubitj Yarram Yaluk project has given us the opportunity to apply for this funding from the Nature Fund, which we will put towards pest and weed control, the formation and running of a friends group for the area that will help care for Country on site, and towards a carpark and walkways (towards which the majority of the funding will go) so people can safely access the site without damaging the native environment.
“I am so pleased with the strong partnership between Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation and Barwon Water. Truly working together has meant that there has been significant input from Wadawurrung in the design process and in working towards an operational space for our Natural Resource Management team, which is very exciting and an example that other organisations can follow.”
The new friends group, which is being coordinated by Bellarine Catchment Network (BCN), has held two weeding days at the site on the corner of Grubb and Swan Bay roads.
Friends of Murrk Ngubitj Yarram Yaluk will meet on the first Wednesday of the month, with the wider community welcome to attend and be an exciting part of bush regeneration process from that beginning.
BCN’s Matt Crawley said he was excited by the formation of the group, which had already got to work removing invasive plant species from the site to support aims of the project to care for Country.
“The turnout for the friends’ group has been really strong, which shows how passionate local people are about this project and protecting and enhancing the Bellarine’s natural values.”
Barwon Water Interim Managing Director Shaun Cumming said he was excited to see the progress of the project to transform the former Bellarine Basin site into more than 30 hectares of environmental and public open space to be enjoyed by the community for years to come.
“The site is unique on the Bellarine Peninsula, and currently there is a thriving wetland, remnant grassy woodlands, wedge tailed eagle and collared sparrowhawk nests and a variety of areas with revegetation opportunities.
“Barwon Water and Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation have been working with key government and community stakeholders to ensure that the cultural, social and environmental benefits are maximised through the design process.”
Mr Cumming said that Stage 1 of the project was nearly complete.
“Stage 1 works comprised removal of 30 per cent of the pine plantations, removal of the basin walls, the recreation of the Yarram Creek natural alignment and the creation of a master plan for a nature reserve and public space.
“The Victorian Government funding will allow for a key part of Stage 2 of the project to be delivered, including construction of boardwalks and paths, the construction of carparking, pest control and the establishment of the friends group, whose weed management and native plant establishment work will not only assist with biodiversity but build the connection between the wider community and the project.”
Extensive consultation on the concept plan has recently been completed with input from Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, key stakeholders and community.
“Thank you to everyone who provided input into this process.”
For more information on the project and how to get involved, please visit www.yoursay.barwonwater.vic.gov.au/bellarine-basin.
The Nature Fund background
The Nature Fund was established by the Victorian Government to support high impact projects that deliver on the goals of Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037 (Biodiversity 2037), the Government’s plan to stop the decline of native plants and animals and improve the state’s natural environment.
It encourages collaboration and partnerships between government, business, philanthropy and the community to deliver projects that will make a significant difference to the outcomes for biodiversity and threatened species in Victoria.
The Nature Fund also supports projects that advance the self-determination of Victoria’s First Peoples.
For more information on the Nature fund, please visit www.environment.vic.gov.au/nature-fund.