THE federal government is giving the Western Port Biosphere $300,000 over the next three years, matching the money provided by the organisation’s five member municipalities: Mornington Peninsula, Frankston, Casey, Bass and Cardinia.
The Western Port Biosphere Reserve is recognised by UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program and the money will support the its aim of “balancing conservation and sustainable development within the region”.
The biosphere’s new chair, Jo McCoy, said the federal government money “shows a real partnership between these levels of government”.
“Few Australians can say that they live in a UNESCO biosphere reserve, but we can. The peninsula and the wonderful Western Port environment, including the Ramsar wetlands and the endangered international migratory bird species that live here, should be a continuing source of pride for us all,” she said.
The money would help the biosphere “work even more closely with our community to educate people about the biosphere and bring many more people into caring for it”.
Flinders MP Greg Hunt said the biosphere would adopt a “multidisciplinary approach” towards communicating with groups and communities “on the need to protect the region”.
“This will include forums and seminars to help increase community understanding of the development pressures on mammals, waterbirds and marine species,” he said.
The biosphere’s executive officer, who is also named Greg Hunt, said the money would help the biosphere develop projects “to explore how we might answer the fundamental question of how we meet human needs without damaging the environment on which we and all other species depend”.
Wetlands within the biosphere are covered under the Ramsar Convention which is subject to Australian migratory bird agreements with China, Japan and Korea.