Victorians are being asked to have their say on a pioneering plan to protect Melbourne’s iconic Yarra River from a growing city and warming climate.
The draft Yarra Strategic Plan has been developed through the collaborative efforts of Traditional Owners, local councils and government agencies so that, for the first time, the river can be managed as one entity from the Yarra Ranges to Melbourne’s CBD.
The draft Yarra Strategic Plan aims to help deliver on landmark legislation, the Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Act 2017, which enshrined in law the protection of the Yarra River, the Birrarung, and its management as one living and integrated natural entity.
Where previously the river was managed as separate parcels in different local government, park and agency boundaries, the Yarra Strategic Plan brings agencies and resources together, recognising that management in one area has a flow-on effect in other parts of the river.
People enjoy the Yarra River for a number of reasons and the community is being encouraged to have their say on how they'd like to see the waterway managed in the future.
The draft Yarra Strategic Plan provides a framework to bring to life the 50-year Community Vision and underpins the commitments made in the Act.
Guided by four 10-year performance objectives, the goals of the plan are to:
- improve the river’s water quality and protect its land, floodplains and billabongs
- acknowledge, protect and commemorate the river’s rich heritage and its stories
- improve the rivers parklands for a growing population
- protect the natural beauty of the Yarra River corridor.
The draft Yarra Strategic Plan has been prepared by the Yarra Collaboration Committee, formed by representatives from the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation as well as the 15 state and local agencies who manage the Yarra River corridor.
Representatives from the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation have partnered in the development of the Plan, outlining their priorities and ambitions for the Birrarung, recognising Traditional Owners’ voices in the governance and protection of the Yarra River.
“The Yarra River, Birrarung, has shaped the Victorian landscape for 100 million years and holds great cultural, spiritual, social, recreational and economic value to Victorians,” Melbourne Water spokesperson Gavan O’Neill said, on behalf of the Yarra Collaboration Committee.
“Community feedback on the current draft will help inform the shape of the final plan.”