The Victorian Government is developing a new Rivers of the Barwon Action Plan to ensure the iconic Barwon catchment can thrive and be enjoyed as a natural treasure for many years to come. The Action Plan will be released in late 2020.

The Barwon River and its tributaries are valuable natural assets to be protected and enhanced for future generations. They play a key role in supporting the liveability, amenity and recreational opportunities for a growing population as well as support diverse agricultural and horticultural production and an expanding economy.

The Barwon catchment has a particular spiritual and cultural significance for the Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung Traditional Owners. Traditional Owners have cultural, spiritual and economic connections to the land, water and other resources through their associations and relationships with Country, which they have managed sustainably over a thousand and more generations. Connection to land, waters and resources on Country is important for Traditional Owners’ health and wellbeing. The adjacent map outlines the Barwon catchment and the Country over which Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung are the traditional custodians.

The Barwon catchment has some of the state’s most flow-stressed waterways. Significant population growth and a changing climate are expected to place increasing pressures on the health of the catchment’s waterways and its natural landscapes. These pressures are expected to increase stress on the health of the waterways and natural landscapes, requiring a long-term strategic response to meet these challenges and others that emerge.

The Rivers of the Barwon Action Plan will lay out comprehensive steps to protect the catchment and ensure it can be enjoyed as a community asset for future generations. This will include all major waterways within the Barwon catchment including the Barwon, Moorabool, Yarrowee and Leigh rivers and their tributaries.

The Rivers of the Barwon Action Plan will be released in late 2021.

Map of the Barwon River and surrounding regions

The Barwon Ministerial Advisory Committee

The Victorian Government established the Barwon River Ministerial Advisory Committee (Barwon MAC) in early 2019 to facilitate a community-led approach to the future management and protection of the Barwon catchment.

The MAC has worked in partnership with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners and local communities to understand the threats to the river, how to better manage these threats, and how to enhance and protect the river system.

In developing its recommendations, the Barwon MAC looked at opportunities to improve institutional, legislative and regulatory arrangements, land use planning controls, land and water management and better ways to involve Traditional Owners and the community in decision-making.

The Barwon MAC have submitted their recommendations to Government. The Government will prepare a response to the MAC’s recommendations which will be released as a Barwon Ministerial Advisory Committee Action Plan in the later half of this year.

Community Vision

The Barwon MAC engaged extensively with the community to develop a 50-year Community Vision. The vision is a direct reflection of feedback from communities across the catchment and was strongly supported by additional community input following the release of the Barwon MAC Discussion Paper. The Barwon Action Plan will lay out steps to embed this Community Vision into decision-making frameworks so that it guides the management of the catchment in the long-term.

More information

To keep up-to-date with progress, email

Page last updated: 22/04/21