Committed to Corio foreshore

David Braiden knows the value of working together to protect what’s important. As Geelong Refinery’s Major Environment Projects Lead, he plays a vital role in helping Viva Energy preserve and protect our natural environment around a major manufacturing facility.

The landscape surrounding the Geelong Refinery is a natural asset to the region, with the Corio Bay foreshore forming part of the traditional lands of the Wathaurung people. It’s also home to migratory birds such as the orange-bellied parrot, and coastal salt marshes that play a key role in sustaining the ecological balance of the area.

In 2012, in consultation with EPA Victoria, a Clean Up plan was developed to remediate a part of the foreshore that had been historically impacted by hydrocarbons. The plan consisted of a dedicated regeneration project, designed to restore and preserve this section of the coastline, and demonstrate our commitment to the natural environment.

Committed to Corio foreshore

Driving action through dialogue

Extensive consultation with a range of stakeholders occurred prior to work commencing. Through discussions with EPA Victoria, Geelong Council, the Department of Land, Water, and Planning, and indigenous groups like Aboriginal Affairs Victoria and the Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation, a wide-ranging response was formulated to revegetate the area and help return it to its natural state.

“We had ecological assessments done of the area, and areas further north adjacent to the refinery,” says David. “The salt marshes are home to rare species, high value species of plants, little critters and birds, and were determined to be of high ecological value.”

Preserving that habitat was of great importance to Viva Energy. After the necessary recommendations, advice and approvals were in place, work on the Clean Up plan began in earnest.

“We installed groundwater interception trenches to make sure the intertidal areas were not at risk,” says David. Additional monitoring wells were put in place and hydrocarbon is now successfully recovered from the subsurface within the area.

“We also fenced off parts of the area to reduce impacts from people driving cars in there and illegally dumping.” Vehicular access was controlled by the installation of a gate, as well as boulders and signage.

Maintenance was carried out on existing access tracks, while revegetation efforts utilised a hydroseeding technique that included a native seed mix.

“Instead of planting tube stock, the area was sprayed with a mulch-like fertiliser and seed mixture,” says David. “This was supplemented by the Environment Team conducting a planting day to plant salt-bush, to ensure those areas could be preserved.”

Hands-on preservation

Viva Energy had also engaged the services of Environmental Resources Management Australia, who prepared the Cultural Heritage Management Plan after a rigorous assessment of the site.

Their work has ensured that appropriate signage highlights the significance of the shell middens found in the area, evidence of past Aboriginal hunting, gathering and food processing in the Corio Bay region.

As part of Viva Energy’s ongoing commitment to the environment, we have also partnered with Greening Australia which often involves our team volunteering for planting days to help maintain a healthy home for our native flora and fauna. Together, we revegetated the fringing saltmarsh of Limeburner’s Bay to increase the biodiversity of the area, and reduce the threat of weed encroachment on this important habitat.

Learn more about our environment commitment here.


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