Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith, today announced funding of $1.04 million towards a $3.6 million project to revitalise Melbourne's second-largest river valley, the Maribyrnong.
Visiting the Maribyrnong this morning, Mr Smith said the target of the project was a more clean and accessible river valley for the community, which would also improve the quality of water going into Port Phillip Bay.
"In what is the largest environmental joint project yet to clean up and regenerate the Maribyrnong River Valley, communities will be working together to revitalise the river banks and ensure flow-on benefits for Port Phillip Bay," Mr Smith said.
Over two years the Maribyrnong River Valley Project will control rabbits along the 82-kilometre river valley, remove woody weeds and revegetate the area with native species.
Mr Smith said the Maribyrnong River was blessed with a number of picturesque wetlands and recreation areas, particularly the river trail which is used by walkers and cyclists.
"By caring for the more neglected areas of the river as well as linking some of the shared trails, this project will ensure the Maribyrnong is an area of even greater pride for communities in the west, as well as a wonderful destination for visitors," Mr Smith said.
"This is the first time so many stakeholders have joined together to solve some of the problems along the Maribyrnong River Valley."
The project brings together the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Hume, Brimbank, Moonee Valley and Maribyrnong councils, Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria, Port Phillip and Westernport CMA, City West Water, 200 private landowners, Melbourne Airport, and a number of Friends groups.
Mr Smith said that while effort by landowners to control weeds and pests along the Maribyrnong was essential to the success of the project, there was only so much they could do on their own.
"Experience has shown us that even the best-planned individual effort to control weeds or pests is often put at risk of re-infestation from surrounding areas. In this project however, all stakeholders will benefit from working together," Mr Smith said.
The Victorian Government is committed to keeping the Maribyrnong healthy for the enjoyment of all Victorians and improve water quality for Port Phillip Bay.