On Thursday 21 September 2017, the landmark Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Bill passed through Parliament and will now go to the Governor for Royal Assent.
The Bill combines the wisdom of Traditional Owners with modern river management and enshrines in law the protection of the Yarra River.
During the Bill’s introduction into the Legislative Assembly on 20 June 2017, six Wurundjeri elders spoke in both English and Woi-wurrung to explain the significance of the river and the Bill to their people.
The Bill is the first in Victoria to use the language of Traditional Owners in its title, and one of the first in Australia to include Traditional Owner language in the Bill’s body. Wilip-gin Birrarung murron means “keep the Yarra alive”.
The Bill identifies the Yarra River and the many hundreds of parcels of public land it flows through as one living, integrated natural entity for protection and improvement.
The Bill will come into effect on 1 December 2017 and is an important step in recognising the Yarra as one living and integrated entity.