The Victorian government honoured the work and commitment of a wide range of community groups and individuals at the presentation ceremony for the Victorian Coastal Awards for Excellence held at NGV International on Thursday 11 September 2014.
Over 250 individuals from volunteer groups, committees of management, government and non-government organisations attended the evening. Wurundjeri Elder, Uncle Ron Jones provided the welcome to country and the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Ryan Smith presented the awards to this year’s winners.
The Minister acknowledged the important role of volunteers in coastal management with a special award given to Coastcare Victoria to celebrate 20 years of program service.
An encouraging response to the call for nominations this year resulted in 19 finalists across five award categories including building and design, education, community action and partnership, natural environment and planning and management. Uncle Albert Mullett received a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award, while Melbourne's Baykeeper, Neil Blake, received the Outstanding Individual Achievement Award.
Yarram Yarram Landcare Network - Coastal Saltmarsh Protection Project
Yarram Yarram Landcare Network has worked closely with landowners to enhance and protect high priority areas of coastal vegetation adjacent to the Ramsar-listed wetlands of Corner Inlet and Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park in Gippsland.
In partnership with West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority and Coastcare Victoria, the Coastal Saltmarsh Protection Project has protected 700 hectares of coastal saltmarsh on freehold land between Port Albert and Reeves Beach. Management activities have included fencing to exclude livestock from sensitive areas, weed removal and revegetation with indigenous plants. This landscape-scale project has enabled the local community to work collaboratively to create an ecological buffer zone between farmland and Ramsar-listed wetlands.
The long term goal to provide a continuous bio-link to protect significant wetlands around Corner Inlet is now becoming a reality.
A special award given this year to Coastcare Victoria and its dedicated volunteers for twenty years of outstanding program of service to coastal and marine education, conservation and management across Victoria.
This year marks an important milestone in the contribution of coastal volunteers with the 20th anniversary of Coastcare Victoria. Victoria was the first state in Australia to formally support coastal volunteers through the establishment of Coastcare Victoria in 1994. The program was adopted nationally the following year.
The Coastcare Victoria program provides a pathway for volunteers to continue their work and improve the coast for the benefit of all Victorians. Today there are approximately 20,000 volunteers acting as stewards for Victoria’s coastline. Strong partnerships between the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, volunteers, land managers and stakeholders help to ensure positive local and regional outcomes are delivered in coastal areas.
Borough of Queenscliffe - Point Lonsdale Foreshore Revitalisation Project
The Point Lonsdale Foreshore Revitalisation project has enhanced the foreshore in the village and front beach area. Works include a lookout platform, all-abilities access ramps to the beach promenade, BBQ shelter, all-weather beach huts, beach showers, picnic tables, landscaping and vegetation.
Some design highlights include the large lookout platform which draws people to the unique vista over the Rip, Pt Nepean and Queenscliff. The design is sympathetic to historic and landscape features such as the pier and bluestone seawall, with large chunky ‘pier’ style deck, faux bluestone curved seat wall and a range of feature seats built from reclaimed Point Lonsdale Pier timber.
Overall the project has enriched this popular foreshore area through clever design to provide improved facilities that encourage use and participation.
Bunurong Coast Education
Based in Inverloch, Bunurong Coast Education offers environmental education to community members of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, transforming the way they understand and value Victoria’s unique coastal and marine environments.
Several thousand participants – from school groups, community organisations, visitors and local residents – are influenced each year. A diverse program of activities such as rockpooling and dinosaur discovery occur in unique classroom locations along beaches, rock platforms, saltmarshes, mangroves and sand flats.
School curriculum topics such as science, mathematics, and the arts can be covered during a coastal excursion with Bunurong Coast Education. At the same time, students gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the fragile and diverse ecological communities along the Bass Coast, leading to a better appreciation for its care and protection into the future.
Mornington Peninsula Shire Council - Rye Recreational Boating Precinct Plan
The Rye Recreational Boating Precinct Plan presents an integrated vision for the future planning and management of this important boating and recreational precinct. The Plan aims to address the needs of existing users of the boating precinct more effectively, while also supporting and enhancing opportunities for broader community use and enjoyment.
Development of the Rye Recreational Boating Precinct Plan was informed by extensive community consultation along with scientific and technical assessments. Supporting reports included a Background Reference Report, the Rye Coastal Processes Study and the State Government’s Recreational Boating Facilities Framework.
The Plan addresses multiple objectives, including a need to manage increasing demand for recreational boating, enhance traffic management and recreational amenity, ensure safe access to Port Phillip Bay while also considering coastal vulnerability and the potential impacts of climate change.
Marine Volunteer Network - Sharing the Love
The Marine Volunteer Network actively supports individuals and groups interested in Victoria’s marine protected areas.
The network is made up of passionate volunteers from across the State, who together make a major contribution to the conservation of Victoria’s marine environment. Hundreds of hours of volunteer time is invested annually on a range of projects, from citizen science monitoring of seagrass meadows and marine pest populations, to community education projects that aim to promote awareness and conservation of marine parks.
Working closely with Parks Victoria and Coastcare Victoria, the Marine Volunteer Network meet every two years to share learning and information through Sharing the Love events. These events help participants to better understand values and threats impacting marine parks while also supporting management opportunities to protect and enhance marine park assets.
Nelson Coastcare Group - Ecoliteracy advocates and Ramsar-wothy workers
Nelson Coastcare Group are highly skilled and motivated retirees from Victoria’s South West who are achieving outstanding environmental and community results.
The group has worked tirelessly to form extensive partnerships with a range of coastal community groups and land managers. This collaboration has resulted in improvements to the Glenelg River estuary, Long Swamp wetlands, Discovery bay Coastal Park and Livingstone Island. The group is also very proud to have initiated the successful nomination of Long Swamp and Glenelg River estuary as Ramsar wetlands.
The passion and enthusiasm of the Nelson Coastcare Group motivates and inspires others to get involved. As a result, local community culture is changing, with residents showing an increased appreciation of the natural and social values contained within this coastal hamlet.
Lifetime Achievement Award - Uncle Albert Mullett
‘Uncle Albert’, a Traditional Owner of the Gunaikurnai people was a much respected elder from the Gippsland region who sadly passed away in July 2014.
Uncle Albert Mullett was a champion for Aboriginal rights in Victoria, and was instrumental in leading a 15-year campaign for the historic Gunai Kurnai Native Title Settlement Agreement, signed in 2010.
Uncle Albert was committed to the preservation and celebration of Aboriginal culture and his contributions were notably recognised in the Gippsland Lakes area where he showed a passion for teaching Aboriginal culture and for cultural heritage protection.
Albert helped establish the Krowathunkooloong Keeping Place in Bairnsdale, providing information about the Indigenous heritage and culture of the Gunaikurnai people of Gippsland. He also played a crucial role in lobbying to have the Roundhead burial site protected from erosion and this project went on to win a Victorian Coastal Award For Excellence (Cultural Achievement) in 2007.
Uncle Albert’s devotion to his culture, his people and his country saw him inducted into the Victorian Indigenous Honour Roll in 2013.
With respect, the Victorian Coastal Council commemorates Uncle Albert Mullett and acknowledges his legacy with a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award in coastal excellence.
Uncle Albert's daughter, Christine Johnson, accepted the award of behalf of the Mullett Family.
Outstanding Individual Achievement Award - Neil Blake
Neil Blake is well known as Melbourne’s “Baykeeper” and is considered to be the grandfather of the environmental movement within the City of Port Phillip. For nearly 30 years, Neil has worked tirelessly to care for the local environment and its people. Founder and director of the Port Phillip EcoCentre, Neil provides a diverse range of environmental and educational programs to engage, activate and empower the local community. As Melbourne’s Baykeeper, Neil is a passionate advocate for healthy waterways and beaches. Neil’s ability to connect with and encourage volunteers to protect marine and coastal environments also builds the capabilities of the next generation of environmental leaders.
Special Commendation - Paul van Leeuwen
Paul van Leeuwen is dedicated to cleaning up the shorelines and beaches of Lake Tyers and the Gippsland Lakes. Large amounts of rubbish are collected on his many and extensive walks and kayak trips and later separated for recycling.
His single-minded determination and thoroughness has resulted in significant and noticeable improvement of the waterways. His activities are particularly remarkable in view that he is a young man who has autism. His efforts underscore the positive attributes of this condition, such as a highly rational and focussed response to concrete problems, and a determination to complete tasks.
This award from the Victorian Marine Science Consortium is given to outstanding postgraduate research students.
Rhys is a PhD candidate at RMIT Univeristy. Under the supervision of Professor Dayanthi Nugegoda and Associate Professor Donald Wlodkowic, Rhys is studying the impact of temperature on the toxicity of petroleum hydrocarbons to native marine invertebrates with the use of novel 3-D printed and laser cut assays for customised flow-through testing.
Natalie is completing a Master of Science in Biology and Biotechnology at RMIT Univeristy. Under the supervision of Dr Jeff Shimeta and Professor Dayanthi Nugegoda, Natalie is studying the effect of ocean acidification and ocean warming on sea urchins.
Page last updated: 12/06/19