Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith has appointed seven new members to the Gippsland Lakes and Coast Regional Coastal Board to develop a coastal action plan for the region and provide advice on coastal development and use.
Mr Smith said the Gippsland Lakes and Coast Board had an important role in planning and advising on coastal and marine environments extending from Inverloch in Western Gippsland to the New South Wales border.
"I have appointed Neville Penrose as the new chair of the board and congratulate him on his appointment. Mr Penrose has substantial knowledge of regional issues, business management, natural resource management and stakeholder consultation. He was formerly a representative on the Board and is currently a member of the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority.
"In addition, I welcome Richard Ellis, Paul Smith, Peter Jennings, Jacinta Mackey, Ian Needham and Rodney Thomas to the board. They will join Michael Sinnott who has been reappointed for another term.
"One of the board's main responsibilities will be to develop an overarching coastal action plan for the region. This plan will help to balance protection and enhancement of the coast with recreation, use and tourism.
'The Gippsland Lakes and Coast Board also works closely with the Victorian Coastal Council which guides coastal planning for Victoria's 2,000 kilometres of coastline,' Mr Smith said.
"Mr Penrose will join the chairs of Victoria's two other coastal boards – Western Coast Regional Coastal Board and Central Coast Regional Coastal Board – as a member of the Victorian Coastal Council, helping to ensure the coast is well managed across the state.
"The area covered by the Gippsland Lakes and Coast Regional Coastal Board remains in a largely natural state, with diverse natural environments including national parks, reserves and public foreshores. These are unique places and their coastal and marine environments need to be managed with care.
"In Victoria, 96 per cent of the coastline is in public ownership. The coast is critical to our local economy, community and lifestyle. We rely on board members to help ensure sustainable management of this vital part of our region.
Mr Smith also thanked the outgoing chairperson, Helen Martin for her contributions to the board since 2006.
"Ms Martin has brought extensive planning knowledge and expertise in the natural environment to the role. She has ensured a strategic and insightful approach to the board's work, and has been a valuable contributor to coastal planning policies and projects.
"I also thank outgoing members Helen Bull, Shayne Haywood, Peter Johnstone, Noel Maud, Katherine Nelson, Jane Rowe and Dr Peter Veenker; and the outgoing Department of Sustainability and Environment representative, Michael Timpano for their work in recent years on the board.
"The Gippsland Lakes and Coast Regional Coastal Board has worked diligently and with great enthusiasm to ensure that coastal management issues have remained at the forefront of discussion. I thank them all for their time and their many contributions towards managing and conserving our precious coast,' Mr Smith said.