The Andrews Labor Government is protecting Melbourne’s landmark Yarra River, strengthening planning rules and management to protect the river’s banks and improve water quality.
Minister for Planning Richard Wynne announced a plan for a new committee to overhaul the planning rules which govern the 240-kilometre stretch of the river between Richmond and Warrandyte.
The new Yarra River Protection Ministerial Advisory Committee would drive consultation and draft the new Yarra River Protection Act, legislating for long-term protection.
The committee will be chaired by Chris Chesterfield who has nearly 30 years in the public sector, water and environment industry and is nationally recognised for his leadership in waterway and urban water management.
The consultation, to begin in early 2016, will include surrounding residents, businesses, river users and the wider community.
State planning rules would be changed to allow for consistent decision-making, with controls to address building heights, setbacks, overshadowing and to protect vegetation.
Work to protect the Yarra would also improve the condition of the water and enhance biodiversity, and inform a similar plan for the Maribyrnong River.
The 2015-16 Victorian Budget delivered $1 million to protect the Yarra River for future generations.
“The Yarra will struggle to cope with the demands of a growing modern city without our protection," said Minister for Planning Richard Wynne this morning on board a boat, "Melbourne’s population growth and higher-density development means we have to act now.”
“Over the years there has been an inconsistent approach to managing development along the Yarra. We need tougher policy regarding height and development, removal of vegetation and overshadowing."
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville said “By giving appropriate recognition to the Yarra as an important economic, cultural, social and environmental asset to Victoria, we can protect it for future generations.”