On 10 October 2018 the Victorian Government announced a new community-led approach to develop an Action Plan that will support the management and protection of the iconic Barwon River for generations to come.
Over the coming year, a Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) will work with the community, community groups and Traditional Owners to identify key recommendations that will be presented to government for consideration. The MAC will be appointed in the coming weeks and will start by understanding the opportunities to build on the strong work already occurring along the Barwon River, along with other opportunities raised by community during the MAC's deliberations.
Christine Forster will be the Independent Chair of the MAC, bringing her extensive experience in water management and planning. Ms Forster is highly regarded in the field of water reform. This MAC will build on Ms Forsters experience and decades of work in the water sector, including her recent role in leading water reform as a member of the Reference Group in the development of the Victorian Government’s water plan, Water for Victoria that supports this work for the protection of the Barwon River.
The four new members will bring a range of skills and experience in the planning, environmental and cultural sectors. The nominated members are:
- Peter Greig, who is the Chair of the Upper Barwon Landcare Network,
- Chris Harty, who has run his own consultancy for 33 years specialising in town planning and environmental science and is a sessional member of Planning Panels Victoria,
- Kirsten Kilpatrick, who is an experienced town planner and passionate about the Geelong region, and
- A nominated representative from the Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation to provide Traditional Owner and cultural expertise.
Images courtesy Corangamite Catchment Management Authority
The MAC will work in partnership with Traditional Owners and communities and report directly to the Minister for Water. It will:
- Develop a community vision for the rivers and their landscapes, building on recent community forums for engagement
- Make recommendations for specific actions for the protection of the Barwon River
- Make recommendations to maintain and enhance community aspirations for the Barwon River.
The project will also align with initial investment in on-ground works to support recreational activities on the Barwon through Geelong, while the MAC is working through it’s deliberations. This project will improve visitor facilities and recreational access to the iconic Barwon River.
In partnership with the Victorian Fisheries Authority and the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, $480,000 will fund the building of all-ability platforms for fishing, paddling, pet-swimming and small boat access through various sites of the Geelong section of Barwon River.
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