Recreational and Aboriginal water values will be enshrined into law for the first time across Victoria with the Water and Catchment Legislation Amendment Bill 2019.

The Bill provides:

  • greater consideration of the recreational values of water and waterways for communities
  • greater recognition and involvement of Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians in the management and planning of waterways and catchments and;
  • clearer planning for future challenges such as climate change, population growth and changing demands for water.

This legislation will support Aboriginal cultural uses of water and underpins opportunities to use water for economic development for Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians. It will also support the self-determination of Traditional Owners by providing opportunities that best meet their water management needs.

Greater consideration for recreational and Aboriginal values will not compromise core responsibilities of water corporations to deliver high quality water for communities and water for entitlement holders when they need it.

Fines, penalties, and license suspensions and cancellations will continue for misuse of water and or water theft.

This Bill resets the start date for the long-term assessment of water resources in northern Victoria to 2025, to allow for the completion of works in northern Victoria required under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. The long-term assessment of water resources in southern Victoria is already underway.