Australia plans to clean up its Great Lakes

The Australian Government has announced plans to improve the water quality in a string of vast lakes along the country's South West coastline.

The Great Lakes, which lie either side of the border between New South Wales and the lower North Coast, and have been identified as one of nine priority coastal hotspots for Government funding.

The improvement plan announced this week will reduce the level of pollution in three bodies of water; lakes Wallis, Myall and Smith.

The plan was funded by Government but drawn up in partnership with the local community, industries and agencies and is designed to address high levels of nutrients from agricultural run-off and sewerage in the three estuaries.

“The Australian Government recognises the high ecological value of the magnificent Great Lakes water system and its importance to the local economy,” said Environment Minister Peter Garrett.

“We’re committed to working with the local community to protect the rich ecology of the Great Lakes.

“The Water Quality Improvement Plan will provide a clear framework for reducing nutrient levels in the Great Lakes using scientific modelling, tools for informed decision making and improved agricultural and urban design practices for water management.

“The plan will also focus on providing opportunities for capacity building and joint learning with stakeholders, as well as creating opportunities to raise awareness of water quality issues and catchment management within the wider community.”

“The Great Lakes Water Quality Improvement Plan is part of the Australian Government’s commitment under the National Water Quality Management Strategy to protecting our environmentally precious coastal waterways by working with communities, industry and other levels of government to reduce pollution,” Mr Garrett said.

The Great Lakes system provides habitat for a diverse number of native flora and flora species including large numbers of waterbirds and also supports significant oyster, fishing, tourism and recreation industries.

David Gibbs

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