Call for new law to protect waterways of the west


Brimbank City Council wants the Victorian Government to create a ‘river law’ for the West’s waterways to help protect their unique flora, fauna, cultural heritage and landscapes of international significance.

This is a key recommendation of the Council’s submission to the State Government’s ‘Waterways of the West’ Discussion Paper.

The Discussion Paper, released last month for public consultation, is part of a Government plan to provide advice on the best way to protect the health, amenity, access and community values of the waterways in the west of Melbourne.

Brimbank Mayor, Cr Georgina Papafotiou said Council’s key recommendation is the preparation of stand-alone ‘river-law’ legislation for the Waterways of the West. It would delineate the scope and principles of protection, governance arrangements and strategic planning requirements. It should be similar to legislation in place for the Yarra River.

‘The Maribyrnong and Werribee catchments, and Moonee Ponds Creek and catchment, are all at the centre of significant urban development and growth, and have suffered enormously in terms of their ecological, cultural heritage, and recreational values.

‘Millions of people live in the Waterways of the West catchments, with at least a million more on the way. Climate change will compound issues and challenges and so we need to protect and improve these living river assets to protect and improve the liveability of the west.

‘The West’s unique landscape includes threatened flora and fauna, and landscapes of international significance. Legislation must assist to clarify and codify how collaborative governance and management will be undertaken to deliver on a community vision,’ Cr Papafotiou said.

Victorian Minister for Water, Lisa Neville and Minister for Planning Richard Wynne established a Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) to provide advice on the best ways to protect and improve the west’s waterways. The MAC released the Waterways of the West Discussion Paper in October for public comment.