The wide range of participation and valuable input from members reviewing the activities has resulted our voices being heard and resultant positive outcomes. This contribution of time and effort is greatly appreciated. In particular, Barry Lingham coordinated and led a significant task to provide input to the Distinctive Area Landscape reviews for the Surf Coast and Bellarine.
Coastal and Marine Management Plans 2020-25
Barwon Coast - The plan has received ministerial approval.
Southern Bellarine - closed for public comment on 7th The Plan is now finalised and is due to be presented to City of Greater Geelong Council at the end of October.
Corio Bay - This CMMP is the next plan to be produced
Barwon Heads Roadworks
This was proceeding according to schedule when Major Road Projects Victoria personnel conducted a site visit with GFNC members in mid-September. Work close to Jerringot was planned to conclude before the return of Latham’s Snipe.
CoGG Biodiversity Strategy Technical Advisory Group.
This group will generate information and ideas to influence the draft CoGG Biodiversity Strategy that is due for release in 2023. CoGG is creating a State of Geelong’s Nature Report to inform the strategy. The plan is to divide the area into 6 regions. Each will have detailed biodiversity strategies developed. The starting point has been to map current baseline biodiversity. The Bellarine region has been selected as the first to be developed, with the South East Bellarine Project having already undertaken much of the preliminary work. GFNC fauna data (eBird, GBR information, iNaturalist, VBA) have been used to help develop base-line information on key species. Some GFNC web observations have been forwarded to assist with gaps in frogs and reptile observations. Ongoing project.
Update on the two local Distinctive Areas & Landscape (DAL) reviews
Surfcoast DAL. The Standing Advisory Committee (DALSAC) developed a report recommending urban development of Spring Creek. The Planning Minister rejected the report and ruled that no urban expansion would take place in Spring Creek.
Bellarine DAL. After an extensive hearing, the Bellarine DALSAC completed their report, recommending against Protected Boundaries on Bellarine townships. However, the government accepted advice from DELWP, council and community groups (including the GFNC) and ruled that Protected Boundaries are needed to protect the environment, landscape values and culture of the Bellarine. The final Statement of Planning Policy has now been sent to City of Greater Geelong and other responsible public entities for ratification.
Moolap Wetlands update.
An on-line session (with GEC and Birdlife) was held in April regarding the preparation of the Moolap Wetlands and Former Saltworks Management Masterplan. Given that this was supposed to begin in 2019, we were surprised that this process is only getting underway now. The tender has been let for development of the plan. Progress is unsatisfactory. GFNC will continue pressing for a quicker process.
Fyansford motorcycle track.
There has been no legal action from CoGG / CCMA/ EPA in following up the illegal works undertaken in the river plain area. The GFNC believe that the laws must be enforced. The area has now been rezoned as part of the new Urban Growth Zone.
- Viva Gas Plant at Corio. No Further Action. GFNC will continue to provide information on flora and fauna to groups opposed to the development.
Grassy Eucalypt Woodlands Project (CCMA) is now part of the Victorian Volcanic Plains Project including grasslands. Some new landholders have become involved and several community engagements planned. Planning integrates with DELWP Linear Reserves project, Golden Plains Shire and Landcare projects.
Recent local issues
CCMA Community Engagement Network.
This new group that will provide a forum for information exchange. The GFNC already has representatives on many CCMA projects and strong connections within the organisation.
Extension of Ramsar wetlands submissions.
The GFNC submitted a detailed response to the proposed extension of the current Port Phillip Bay and Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar site by the inclusion of eleven new wetland areas. The most significant were the Moolap / Pt Henry site and the Lonsdale Lakes zone that included Lake Victoria. The process for inclusion is detailed and may take some time.
We were contacted by the Save the Karaaf group with the option to join a combined community group that will lobby State politicians to support proposed inclusions of new Ramsar wetlands and more funding.
Barwon River Planning:
There are currently several projects underway
Barwon River Through Geelong - Proposed changes by CCMA to Barwon River use in Geelong area.
The future opening up of river traffic once the old sewer aqueduct section over the river is demolished will lead to new river traffic regulations. The was concern about environmental impact from power boats utilising the river.
Barwon River Flagship Waterway project (CCMA) - Upper Barwon area
The Corangamite CMA is partnering with Barwon Water and Upper Barwon Landcare Network to work with landholders and the community to improve the health of the water and riparian land in the East and West branches of the Barwon
Kitjarra-dja-bul Bullarto langi-ut initiative survey (Barwon River Parklands)
This is a major project that will influence developments and uses along large sections of local waterways. A masterplan will be created for the Barwon and Moorabool Rivers through Geelong. Community members can input their general opinions via the website. https://ccma.vic.gov.au/projects/barwon-river-parklands/