Media Releases | 18th Nov, 2002

Water Wars: Bracks & Doyle lift their games on water

Tuesday, 19 November 2002

Environment groups today welcomed the release of two significant and detailed water policies today by Premier Steve Bracks and Opposition Leader, Robert Doyle.

Environment Victoria’s Healthy Rivers Campaign Director Dr Paul Sinclair said, “Whichever party wins government, we will see a significant improvement in the way we manage rivers and water resources in Victoria.

“Both parties have committed to restoring the Murray River to health, and both have committed substantial funds to improved river health, improved catchment and river management, as well as more efficient use of water resources.”

“For the first time we now have a bipartisan commitment to restoring the dying Murray River to health.”

Highlights of new water policy commitments include the following:

Policy Commitment:  





Murray River


Commit to working with Federal & state govts to restore the Murray to health.


Commit to working with Federal & state govts to restore the Murray to health.


Vic River Health Strategy


Boost existing funding by $16 million (to $26.6 m)



Boost existing funding by $40m.(to $50.6 m)


Gippsland Lakes


Boost Gippsland Lakes Action Plan by $20 million on water quality initiatives


Unspecified financial commitment to water quality initiatives


Environmental Flows


Commitment to improving environmental flows in flow-stressed Vic Rivers by 2010.


Commitment to returning Goulburn water savings to the environment; other rivers unclear.


Water Fund


$320 million trust for environmental works and water efficiencies


$116 million trust for environmental works and water efficiencies


Urban Water& Wastewater

  • Reduce Melbourne’s water use by 15% by 2010
  • $150 rebate for stormwater tanks
  • Increase Melbourne’s sewage recycling to 20% by 2010

  • $18 million Decade Action Plan for the Yarra River & catchment
  • $200 rebate for stormwater tanks
  • No Gunnamatta outfall extension, and explore avenues for sewage recycling

*Some double counting may be involved in the figures for both policies:

ACF Land & Water Co-ordinator Tim Fisher said, “With both parties vastly improving their commitments to river health and water efficiency, today marks a sea change in Victorian environmental policy.

“For both parties, we retain some reservations about the uses to which taxpayers’ funds will be put. We continue to seek assurances that all water saved through public investment will be used to boost environmental flows in our rivers, “ Mr Fisher said.

“At the moment both parties are vague about where money from their water funds are going to be spent. We’ll be looking to secure firm commitments that healthy rivers will be the fund’s highest priority”