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The Draft Yarra Strategic Plan, developed by the Traditional Owners, local councils and government agencies, has called on Victorians to help shape plans to protect Melbourne’s Yarra River from a growing city and warming climate.

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 from the Yarra Ranges to Melbourne’s CBD.

Where the river was previously 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.

The Draft Yarra Strategic Plan provides a framework to bring to life the 50-year community vision and underpins the commitments made in the protection 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 river’s 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.”

Victorians can read the Draft Yarra Strategic Plan and offer feedback here. 

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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