Free flowing: state government launches action plan for local rivers
A STATE government action plan will better protect the Barwon River and other important rivers in the region in a new approach to waterways management.
Water Minister Lisa Neville launched the Barre Warre Yulluk Action Plan next to the Barwon River in Highton on Tuesday this week.
Barre Warre Yulluk – the “rivers of Barwon” – was developed as a result of the Barwon River Ministerial Advisory Committee established by Ms Neville in early 2019.
This was followed by two years of extensive consultation including with Traditional Owners, community groups and water stakeholders.
The action plan, which identifies seven directions and 30 actions and is supported by $4.3 million of state funding, includes the whole network of creeks and rivers from the Barwon (Parwan), Moorabool (Murrabul), Yarrowee (Yarowee) and Leigh (Waywatcurtan) rivers and their tributaries.
Over the next five years, the plan will guide protection and improvement of community access, amenity and environmental health of the Barwon River, Moorabool River and other waterways.
Actions to achieve this will include improving and connecting parkland trails, revegetation, riparian fencing and weed management, along with environmental water delivery to strengthen the resilience of these systems.
The Geelong and Ballarat regions are rapidly transforming, and the state government sees this as an opportunity to protect and enhance waterways and their surrounding land to give communities better access to the recreational, environmental and social values these waterways provide.
Regional planning policy and new planning controls will be implemented to protect these waterways from inappropriate development.
The action plan recognises that Barre Warre Yulluk is an interconnected and living entity and that the Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung Traditional Owners are its voice.
These new approaches to waterways management will embed Traditional Owners voices in decision-making.
Ms Neville launched the plan near the Queens Park bridge alongside Geelong MP Christine Couzens, South Barwon MP Darren Cheeseman, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority chair Cath Jenkins and Barwon River Ministerial Advisory Committee chair Christine Forster.
“Barre Warre Yulluk – the Rivers of Barwon Action Plan delivers concrete results for our rivers, caring for them as a unique, interconnected living system, protecting them from pollution and overdevelopment,” Ms Neville said.
“I know how important rivers and creeks are to local communities and I’d like to thank the Ministerial Advisory Council for their work in ensuring community views are included in our government’s plans for these waterways.”