WA Labor to protect the Swan and Canning Rivers and reduce plastic pollution

Posted on March 6, 2021
  • Grant funding for community volunteer groups to be supersized and Dolphin Watch program to be expanded
  • Urban forest projects to be funded at Bayswater and across the Swan Canning Riverpark
  • Riverpark to become a plastic free area and gross pollutant traps to be installed on all seven Water Corporation stormwater drains to reduce plastic pollution in our ocean

A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will reduce plastic pollution and supersize the grant funding available to community volunteer groups as part of a significant package of initiatives to protect the health of the Swan and Canning rivers.

The Community Rivercare Program, a grants program that provides community volunteer groups with funding to conserve the natural, cultural and social amenity of the rivers, tributaries and urban drains within the Swan Canning Catchment, will be significantly boosted from $1 million over three years to $4 million over four years.

The program funds activities such as habitat improvement for birds and other species, foreshore revegetation and weed control, bank stabilisation to repair or prevent foreshore erosion, water quality improvement, and native fish habitat improvement and native fish restocking.

A re-elected McGowan Government will also expand the successful Dolphin Watch program at a cost of $500,000 to support more community engagement activities such as school excursions and talks, training events and interpretive signage.

A new $500,000 Plastic Free Riverpark initiative will phase out the use of single-use plastic by businesses operating within and surrounding the Swan Canning Riverpark, resulting in the first plastic free area in WA with a river care focus.

This will complement an investment of $13 million by a re-elected McGowan Labor Government to install seven gross pollutant traps at the Water Corporation storm drains to reduce plastic pollution in our ocean.

This investment will also fund research on a number of projects to prevent and reduce ocean pollution, including monitoring to determine pollutants in the Water Corporation’s main drains, expanding research with universities into microplastics in wastewater, and investigating treatment technology for nano-particles at the Beenyup Water Resource Recovery Facility.

A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will also fund urban forest projects in Bayswater and throughout the Swan Canning catchment at a cost of $4 million to help restore valued community parks and reserves, create shade, absorb pollution and create animal habitat.

The Bayswater Urban Forest Project, which will receive $1 million in funding, will convert four hectares of former landfill into an urban forest, which will provide a dryland habitat next to a wetland habitat and will link to the existing Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary.

Local Government authorities will be supported to implement urban forest initiatives within the Swan Canning Riverpark at a cost of $3 million over four years. The initiative will aim to help local governments maintain and improve their urban tree canopy, which will improve human health and biodiversity.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“The Swan and Canning rivers are much loved for their stunning natural beauty and fantastic recreational appeal, but they are under pressure.

“A re-elected WA Labor Government will significantly increase the funding to community groups and initiatives that work to protect and keep these river systems healthy.

“This includes creating the first plastic free area in WA with a river care focus, which is aligned with our WA Plan for Plastics, and will complement our $13 million commitment to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans.

“Installing gross pollutant traps, which are essentially big traps to collect any rubbish bigger than five millimetres in size, across all seven of the Water Corporation’s storm water drains will help prevent plastic pollution entering the ocean and harming wildlife.

“We have all seen the distressing images of ocean creatures trapped in plastic debris – this policy will help prevent that and preserve our wildlife for the future.

“Keeping our natural environment healthy is all part of my Government’s plan to keep Western Australia strong.”