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Commited to achieving sustainable management of the region’s natural resources, including water, energy and ecosystems, this project formed part of the Victorian government's Vision for Werribee Plains program.
The Australian Conservation Foundation undertook this three-year project to develop a regional sustainability framework for the Werribee Plains region.
The Werribee Plains region is one of Victoria's fastest-growing areas. Home to some 650,000 people now, the population is likely to exceed one million by 2030. Many of Victoria's largest manufacturers are clustered in the industrial zones of Altona and Laverton, and major transport routes run across the area, linking Melbourne to the west and north.
The pressures of growth are fast having an impact. The Plains lie in a rain shadow where water has always been relatively scarce. Drought has worsened the situation in recent years. Add-in the forecasts for climate change in Southeast Australia – drier, hotter summers and even less rain – and the future becomes even more challenging.
And it’s not just water. More people means more land, buildings, transport and energy. The outlook is positive for a broadening local economy and continuing urban growth. The challenge is to ensure that the area’s fragile environment is not crushed in the process – the largest remaining areas of native grassland in Victoria, unique State and National Parks, RAMSAR-listed wetlands.
ACF's Werribee Plains project explored the possibilities for sustaining a growing and vigorous community while reducing its ecological footprint and making it more resilient against future shocks. A key part of the project was the development of a model (Werribee Plains Sustainability Framework) which used targets to address issues such as water management, transport, landuse change, biodiversity and climate change.
The project was funded through the Department of Sustainability and Environment.