Australia: SEQ Communities to Share in River Cleanup Grants
Community groups who are continuing the long task of cleaning up flood-damaged waterways are set to get a further boost thanks to a new Bligh Government funded grant program, Environment Minister Vicky Darling announced today.
Ms Darling said the Community Waterway Litter Cleanup Grants – to be administered by Healthy Waterways – would provide assistance to dedicated community groups who have worked tirelessly both before and after the floods to improve waterways in South East Queensland.
“Just over a year ago the south-east corner was cleaning up from one of the worst natural disasters in recent memory, matched only by an outpouring of community spirit that saw tens of thousands of volunteers flood the streets and help clean up,” Ms Darling said.
“The Bligh Government invested $1.6 million to remove more than 2000 containers of hazardous materials from the Oxley Creek catchment and more than 500 tonnes of debris was removed from 25 kilometres of creek banks.
“Dedicated conservation volunteers, community groups and government officers have continued the painstaking task of picking through river banks, creeks, streams and low-lying areas to make sure every last piece of debris and rubbish is removed.
“We gave SEQ Healthy Waterways a $2 million budget boost last year to continue their good work and also undertake targeted flood recovery projects.
“Today I am announcing that grants will be made available up to $500 to assist with waterway litter cleanup projects.
“In addition, the Healthy Waterways Clean Up crew will be available to assist in clearing up any litter in the most severely affected catchments.
“This is a great opportunity for the community to get involved in caring for their local waterway and help to clear the flood litter that still remains on our creek and river banks”
Member for Bulimba Di Farmer said the grants would be welcome news for community groups who have dedicated countless hours already to restoring waterways in their communities.
“I have seen first-hand how dedicated groups such as the Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C) can have a big impact on important waterways and wetlands,” Ms Farmer said.
“Today’s announcement means groups such as B4C will have a little extra capability to continue restoration and recovery works, as well as continue their great work on flood recovery.
“It will be a long clean-up, with each tide dislodging more rubbish and each big rainfall flushing out more debris.”
Member for Brisbane Grace Grace said the announcement was great news for the region’s catchments, and meant a wide range of community groups could apply for support to help fix their local waterways.
“I would strongly encourage any community group, school or landholder who has been cleaning up important sections of their flood-affected creeks to apply for a grant to help out,” Ms Grace said.
“There is still a lot of work to be done – due to the scale of the floods a large amount of rubbish remains hidden in trees, concealed on riverbanks and lodged in remote sections of creeks.
“It’s important we make sure that the future health of places like the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay is preserved for future generations.”
Healthy Waterways is a non government, not-for-profit organisation working to protect and improve waterway health in South East Queensland.
Dredging Today Staff, January 19, 2012; Image: vickydarlingmp