The Victorian Labor Government is giving grants to transform quarries into parks and community places across the state.
“Quarries are essential in securing affordable materials for Victorians, the process of transforming these spaces for community uses will also create jobs in the future,” the Victorian Minister for Resources Jaala Pulford said.
From Mar. 7, Quarry Transformation Grants will be accepting applications for design ideas to transform the current quarry sites into places that can benefit the local communities once production ends.
“Some of Victoria’s most iconic parks and popular tourist destinations were once quarries and these grants present an opportunity to create more spaces for communities to enjoy,” Pulford said.
A total of $550,000 is available for four projects across two categories: small quarries and larger operations. Grants will help fund feasibility studies, designs, or plans for future services including power networks and water management services.
Applications will be assessed against a criterion for the design proposal, innovation, impact, and net benefit with innovation and benefit having the greatest weightings of 45 and 35 percent respectively.
Potential ideas the government is seeking include those that provide ongoing local community access and critical local services, generate employment opportunities, have a direct positive impact on surrounding land and property values or improve the overall liveability of the area.
Many of Melbourne’s well-known gardens such as the Fitzroy Gardens and the Royal Botanical Garden in Cranbourne were all former quarry sites.
Australia is home to at least 80,000 abandoned mining sites, posing a range of environmental, health and safety risks.
The extraction of natural resources often changes the original landscape and when abandoned, rarely leave enough soil and natural resources for life to return to the area.
In Australia, the most common materials extracted are construction aggregates such as crushed rock, sand, or gravel. The raw materials form the foundation of buildings roads and many aspects of the built environment.
Quarries are managed post-production as abandoned sites and often contain contaminated sediments that can pollute the environment through air and water pollution. Abandoned sites are often turned in artificial lakes after being filled with water and environmentalists are concerned that toxic materials can leak into the water at abandoned quarries and seep into groundwater.
Additionally, productive land is often reduced due to erosion after abandonment, while contaminants in the extraction sites also pose risks for air pollution from dust or toxins.
The grant applications open on March 7 and close on April 14.