Yarra river left swimming in bureaucracy

11 November 2015

A new report shows that four decades of planning and policy for the Yarra is failing to deliver better planning outcomes for the river, as the Yarra is squeezed by overdevelopment along its banks.

The report, Charting the Yarra: A review of 40 years of reports and plans for the Yarra River corridor, is by the Yarra Riverkeeper and Environmental Justice Australia.

“The report aimed to find out how decades of good plans have failed to deliver for Melbourne’s famous Yarra River.” said Andrew Kelly, Yarra Riverkeeper.

“We discovered that, over the years, many plans have been commissioned, paid for, made good recommendations –  only to see many of them shelved.” he continued.

“What the Yarra needs is an independent body that has the power to put the river first, and integrated river management under a single Act that brings all the rules together in one place.” Andrew Kelly concluded.

“Weak and piecemeal adoption of recommendations by councils and agencies has resulted in the Yarra being governed by a complex hodge-podge of council jurisdictions, planning laws and state authorities. This leads to a fragmented, inconsistent approach.” said Bruce Lindsay, researcher at Environmental Justice Australia.

“While there has been some progress, such as improvements in water quality and protecting the open space that Melbourne’s foremost river still hasn’t got the legal protection it needs.” he continued.

“Melbourne Water have done a great deal within the constraints of the powers that they have, but the law hasn’t allowed them to manage the river as the major natural feature of Melbourne’s landscape.” Bruce Lindsay concluded.

For comment
Andrew Kelly, Yarra Riverkeeper

Bruce Lindsay,  Environmental Justice Australia

Read the report: Charting the Yarra: A review of 40 years of reports and plans for the Yarra River corridor

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