Waterways plan to protect our liquid assets

WESTERN Victoria’s first comprehensive waterways strategy has been launched to provide guidelines for managing  the region’s extensive network for the next eight years.

Premier Denis Napthine (centre) surveys the Hopkins River with Glenelg Hopkins CMA CEO Kevin Wood and deputy chairwoman Debbie Shea at the strategy launch. 140822LP63 Picture: LEANNE PICKETT

Premier Denis Napthine (centre) surveys the Hopkins River with Glenelg Hopkins CMA CEO Kevin Wood and deputy chairwoman Debbie Shea at the strategy launch. 140822LP63 Picture: LEANNE PICKETT

Covering from Ballarat to the South Australian border and from the coast to Harrow and Ararat, the blueprint outlines priorities for the Glenelg Hopkins Management Authority.

It includes wetlands, estuaries, input from traditional landowners and recognises the need to protect fish habitats.

River mouth openings, fencing, revegetation and land care projects are also covered.

Preparation has taken about 12 months of extensive research and community consultation which follows completion of a statewide strategy last year.

The catchment area includes 44 per cent of Victoria’s wetlands.

Launching the document, Premier and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine said  the region contained large river estuaries which historically had been badly managed.

“Our forefathers probably didn’t understand the systems and decisions were made which had long-term impacts,” Dr Napthine said.

“This is an important document in managing the challenges of protecting our waterways and provides practical steps to do that.

“The catchment management authority has shown that it can deliver outstanding results.

“We are fortunate in south-west Victoria to have beautiful waterways and it is important we protect and enhance these systems.

“The Glenelg River restoration project, which included fencing and protecting the waterway, planting more than 500,000 trees and seeding 770 kilometres of the river, won the Australian river prize and is a finalist in the international prize which will be announced in September.”

Chief executive of the authority Kevin Wood said while the strategy document focuses on priority needs it also encouraged community groups to undertake beneficial work and apply for funding.

So far this year the state government has committed $1.4 million to the authority to work on some projects identified in the strategy. The 254-page document is available on the authority’s website.

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