Media Releases | 2nd Oct, 2013

New Waterway Strategy won’t rescue our rivers

2 October 2013

Environment Victoria has today criticised the Napthine Government’s Victorian Waterway Management Strategy as lacking in ambition to improve the health of the state’s rivers and wetlands.

Environment Victoria Healthy Rivers Campaigner Juliet Le Feuvre said today:

“The government’s own research shows no improvement in the health of Victoria’s rivers since 2004. It’s disappointing that the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy released today will do very little to change that.

“The strategy doesn’t have the grunt to turn around the degraded condition that afflicts so many of our rivers.

“The Waterway Management Strategy makes some important advances in integrating management of rivers and wetlands. However the targets for river and wetland health that are at its heart are weak and will not drive the kind of improvements in river condition that Victorians need and expect.

“This weak strategy is not an adequate response to the ongoing degradation of our rivers and wetlands.

“This weak strategy and lack of ambition for our rivers highlights the need for an independent investigation into the condition and management of Victoria’s rivers, wetlands, estuaries and groundwater by the Victorian Environment Assessment Council. In the lead up to the 2010 state election The Victorian Coalition promised to initiate this assessment but has since broken that promise.

“Unless the Napthine Government gets serious about river health, particularly in the face of climate change, they are planning for the inevitable collapse of freshwater ecosystems, which provide life giving water and essential services for all Victorians.

“The Waterway Management Strategy is big in rhetoric but short on action. The strategy needs to set targets to improve river side and wetland vegetation, remove stock from our rivers and put an end to the over-extraction of water and to the destruction of our wetlands. Importantly it needs a serious response to how our rivers and water supplies will cope with climate change.

“It should also promote efforts like the Glenelg River Project that was recognised by the prestigious Australian Riverprize awarded to the Glenelg Hopkins CMA last week. This project engaged with hundreds of landholders and fenced over 1600km of river to exclude stock and control erosion. It is the type and scale of effort we need in all our catchments.”

For further information or comment

Juliet Le Feuvre, Environment Victoria Healthy Rivers Campaigner, 0428 770 019