June 11, 2008

Alcoa and Greening Australia win coveted environment award

A ground breaking environmental initiative of Alcoa and Greening Australia that will conserve, enhance and restore the flora and fauna of Point Henry, has won a prestigious national environmental award.

The partners won the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Award for ‘best specific environmental initiative’ for the ‘Moolapio’ project. The annual national awards program acknowledges action taken at a local level to address global environmental issues.
 
Moolapio, from the Wathaurong language meaning ‘sandy place of trees’ is initially focused on five-hundred hectares of Alcoa’s land at Point Henry.  The project began in 2005 when Alcoa outlined a vision that “The land owned and operated by Alcoa in the Point Henry region is an area of outstanding conservation, education, research and recreational value.”
 
To achieve this, Alcoa commenced a $1.5 million partnership with Greening Australia to develop and implement a management plan for the area, in consultation with the local community.  The two organisations have worked together for over 25 years on environmental projects across Australia including River Recovery and ’Make an Impact’.  The Make an Impact program is a greenhouse footprint reduction program for the families of Alcoa employees which includes an on-line greenhouse calculator and a kit featuring a range of greenhouse reduction tips.
 
Alcoa of Australia General Manager of Victorian Operations Arnaud Soirat said that protecting and preserving the environment is a core element of Alcoa’s sustainability commitment. 
 
“This award-winning new addition to our relationship with Greening Australia means we now work together in Alcoa’s backyard to demonstrate that the true value of the land we own in the Point Henry region is environmental and a way to engage with our community - not as a buffer zone between our operations and our neighbours”, he said.

Greening Australia Victoria CEO Carl Carthy said that the outstanding natural features of the Moolapio site at Point Henry, and the long term commitment by Alcoa of Australia, is enabling Greening Australia to combine all the necessary ingredients to effect real conservation and landscape change; namely: ecologically rigorous planning, science-based restoration practice and evaluation, and a diverse approach to community engagement.
 
“Moolapio presents a variety of different strategies for improving existing land management practices and a key feature will be the establishment of large scale grassland restoration and establishment of the Southern Australian Centre for Grassland Restoration” Mr Carthy said.

Moolapio presents a range of exciting opportunities for the education sector and wider community to play an active role in the management of Point Henry land through engaging schools, tertiary institutions and community groups in on-ground management, knowledge sharing and scientific research.
 
Moolapio will be launched on Tuesday 17 June by The Hon Michael Crutchfield, Parliamentary Secretary Water & Environment.