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Bruce Harwood, Mayor, City of Greater Geelong, Alice Knight, Chair, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Jo Plummer, Chair, Barwon Water, Lisa Neville, Victorian Water Minister, Byron Powell, Chair, Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation, Cameron Steele, Coordinator, People for a Living Moorabool and Bella and Renee, Students from Covenant College Geelong

On Monday, in Dog Rocks Reserve and on the banks of the Moorabool River, the Minister for Water, the Hon Lisa Neville MP launched the Living Moorabool project.

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Hon Lisa Neville MP launching the Living Moorabool Project on the banks of the Moorabool River in Batesford, near Geelong.

Minister Neville said this was the first of 10 waterway projects to be launched across Victoria. “We know the Moorabool River is a significant place for visitors and locals, and we want to ensure it remains a site that the local community are connected to and can visit and enjoy,” she said.

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We were privileged to have Wadawurrung Traditional Owner Bryon Powell welcome all attendees to country and perform a smoking ceremony on the day

Part of the project is a Discover the Living Moorabool access map which is a mobile-friendly website that went live on Monday. The site provides locals and visitors with information to help enjoy the Moorabool River featuring practical visitor information, as well as tips on the best places to fish, learn about cultural heritage or have a BBQ. It also includes impressive drone-captured aerial imagery and details of how the community can get involved in citizen science (a link is provided below).

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The Minister for Water with Covenant College Students Renee Thierry and Bella Kent. As part of their year 9 program, students from the College have worked with Landcare, and the City of Greater Geelong to restore vegetation and remove weeds along the Moorabool River.

“The Living Moorabool project is about improving and protecting the health of the river” the Minister declared, stating that $2.1M will be invested in the project.  The investment will be delivered in partnership with Corangamite Catchment Management Authority,  Barwon Water and the community and will improve river banks and land surrounding the river though revegetation, weed control, improved water flows and the removal of barriers to allow fish to move freely up the river.

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Cameron Steele speaking of his experience with the Moorabool River

Speaking at the launch Cameron Steele, coordinator for People for A Living Moorabool (PALM), a group that has long championed a better deal for the Moorabool River, welcomed the news. “Given a chance this river has the capacity to really capture the imagination as it did for those of us in PALM. It vitally needs more people experiencing what it has to offer and caring about its future. For us this day is about people along with agencies and government working together for a living Moorabool.” He also reinforced the fact that the Moorabool River is arguably the most over-allocated and flow stressed in the state.

The Living Moorabool project directly responds to a community call to action for a healthier Moorabool River. Drinking water for rapidly growing cities of Ballarat and Geelong is supplied from reservoirs on the Moorabool River. The river also sustains life for some of the most endangered plant species in Australia and is a vital habitat corridor for birds, fish and platypus.

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Bryon Powell and Cameron Steele planting a tree for the occasion.

The Moorabool River is identified as a priority waterway in both the Corangamite Waterway Strategy and Water for Victoria, the Victorian Government’s water plan.

Through The Living Moorabool project Corangamite CMA will work with Barwon Water, local communities, the Traditional Owners, landholders and local government to achieve a healthier, more vibrant Moorabool River that can sustain a range of values.

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Barwon Water Chair Jo Plummer speaking of the generous contribution of $520K from Barwon Water to the Living Moorabool Project

Activities to be delivered through the project include river bank and instream protection, removal of fish barriers, ecological research and improved monitoring and reporting.

The Discover the Living Moorabool website can be found here: http://www.ccmaknowledgebase.vic.gov.au/moorabool/index.php
If you would like to find out more about the project and how to get involved, you can contact our NRM Planning Coordinator- Rob Bone on 03 5232 9100 or robert.bone@ccma.vic.gov.au.

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The Hon Lisa Neville MP speaking to the group and reaffirming her commitment to waterway health.