Minister for Water Peter Walsh released the draft Victorian Waterway Management Strategy today and encouraged communities to get involved in shaping the future management of their local waterways.
‚ÄúRivers, estuaries and wetlands are the lifeblood of many towns and communities,‚ÄĚ Mr Walsh said.
‚ÄúOur waterways are the basis of important recreational activities such as fishing, swimming and boating, while supporting native fish, riparian vegetation, drought refuges and rare or threatened species.
‚ÄúThe Victorian Coalition Government aims to improve the environmental condition of waterways and support the needs of the community, incorporating lessons learned during the drought and extreme events such as floods and bushfires.
‚ÄúThe draft strategy includes guidance on regional decision-making, investment, management issues, and roles and responsibilities of management agencies,‚ÄĚ Mr Walsh said.
Once finalised, the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy will replace the Victorian River Health Strategy (2002), and it will be the policy framework for waterway management for the next eight years.
‚ÄúOver the past decade our waterways have been through challenging times. This next strategy will include an adaptive and flexible approach to address challenges of drought, flood, bushfire and the potential impacts of climate change,‚ÄĚ Mr Walsh said.
Environment Minister Ryan Smith said the new strategy would also focus on strengthening partnerships between the government and the community.
‚ÄúGovernment working together with local communities will ensure waterways continue to provide environmental, social and economic benefits,‚ÄĚ Mr Smith said.
‚ÄúThis Waterway Management Strategy is another example of the Coalition Government‚Äôs commitment to continuing better community engagement and agency co-ordination.
‚ÄúJust like the Coalition Government‚Äôs recently-released A Cleaner Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay ‚Äď A Plan of Action, these plans will improve the health and effective management of waterways through a clear plan that articulates the role we all have to play.‚ÄĚ
The draft strategy will be explained at community information sessions to be held in each of Victoria‚Äôs ten catchment management regions during November 2012.
Press Release, October 29, 2012