The Andrews Labor Government is committed to protecting the rich and diverse environment of Port Phillip Bay – one of Melbourne’s most important ecosystems, through the $7.6 million Port Phillip Bay Fund.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio and Member for Altona District Jill Hennessy visited Altona Primary to meet with a recipient of a grant from the Fund, Beach Patrol Australia, which received funding for its ‘Help Save Sam the Seadragon’ project.

This initiative uses puppetry to demonstrate the negative impacts of plastic litter on Port Phillip marine life. The 20-minute presentation is heading to 100 schools, clubs and events around the Bay to spread this important message.

Diver Matt who is a marine ecologist, award-winning storyteller and science communicator brings this wonderful program to life.

Matt and Sam the Seadragon had the children of Altona Primary school performing science experiments and answering questions about micro plastics.

Classroom teacher and the school’s environmental leader, Shonelle Kent, has been pivotal in engaging students at the school in programs aimed at protecting the local environment, including the Beach Patrol program, which is helping keep Altona Beach clean for the whole community.

Funding for this project comes alongside the Victorian Government’s recent announcement that it will ban single-use, lightweight plastic shopping bags from 2019 to help protect our environment from plastic pollution.

10,000 marine plant and animal species live in Port Phillip Bay, making it one of Melbourne’s most important ecosystems.

Environmental community groups, youth groups, Traditional Owner groups, universities, not-for-profit organisations and local and state government groups have received funding from the Port Phillip Bay Fund.

Quotes attributable to Jill Hennessy, Member for Altona District

“Diver Matt and his friend Sam the Seadragon brought the serious issue of micro plastic pollution into the classroom.”

“Students at Altona Primary School are passionate about protecting Sam, and keeping our Bay clean. The community has much to thank them for.”

Quotes attributable to Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change

“The Andrews Labor Government recognises the challenges of climate change and population growth and is partnering with community organisations to address key issues impacting Port Phillip Bay.”

“We have invested over $9 million over four years to help the community play a greater role in improving the health of Port Phillip Bay.”

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