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Margaret River leads the way on environmental protection

Media release

Curtin University and Winewatch have recently secured $300,000 funding from the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country program to provide further support to the wine industry.

The funds will be used to continue assistance to the Margaret River wine industry to secure membership of Entwine Australia, the wine industry’s national environmental assurance scheme.

Curtin’s Head of Department of Environment and Agriculture, Professor Mark Gibberd, said the high level of local engagement in the scheme to date demonstrates the considerable value much of the wine industry place on their local environment.

“The Margaret River area is well recognised for its high biodiversity and aesthetic values, its unique cave systems, magnificent coastline, and interesting and diverse landscape,” Professor Gibberd said.

“The reputation and appeal of Margaret River wine rests in part on these values and it is in the wine industry’s best interest to ensure that the environment is protected.”

Winewatch Project Officer, Genevieve Hanran-Smith, said the funding would enable Winewatch to assist companies to meet the requirements of environmental certification.

“Over the last 18 months we have funded preparation of nearly 70 biodiversity protection plans, fencing and re-vegetation of 8km of creek-line on Chapman, Wilyabrup and Boodjidup Brooks, as well as extensive environmental weed control and improvements to wastewater irrigation sites and chemical washdown areas,” Ms Hanran-Smith said.

Since the scheme’s launch in December 2009, 11 wineries and 67 vineyards in the Margaret River wine region have demonstrated their commitment to protecting the environment by completing the training required to achieve Entwine membership.

Thirty of these have achieved environmental certification following an independent third party audit, and it is envisaged that most of the remaining 48 enterprises will progress to certification over the next twelve months.

The next round of environmental certification training is scheduled for July and anyone interested in attending or knowing more about the scheme should contact Genevieve Hanran-Smith at genevieve.ccg@westnet.com.au

The Margaret River Education Campus is located 280 km south of Perth in Western Australia’s premium grape growing region. The Campus is a joint initiative of the Margaret River Senior High School, Department of Training and Workforce Development, South West Regional College of TAFE, Curtin University and Edith Cowan University.

Within the Campus, Curtin is the lead partner in the Centre for Wine Excellence, which comprises a teaching winery, chemistry laboratories, sensory evaluation and research laboratories, classrooms and resource centre. This pivotal location allows Muresk Institute’s viticulture and oenology students to access leading vineyards and wineries to complement their theoretical studies.
Media Contact:

Andrea Barnard, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 4241, Mobile: 0401 103 532, Email: andrea.barnard@curtin.edu.au

Web: http://curtin.edu.au