The Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Act 2017 is the first legislation in Australia to be co-titled in a Traditional Owner language. ‘Wilip-gin Birrarung murron’ translates as ‘keep the Birrarung alive’in Woi-wurrung, the traditional language of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people. Woi-wurrung was used in recognition of the Traditional Owners’ custodianship of the river and their unique connection to the lands through which the river flows.. It is also a Victorian and Australian first in legally identifying a large river and its corridor, which transverses many boundaries, as a single living and integrated natural entity for protection.
The Act prescribes how a long-term Community Vision and the Yarra Strategic Plan, which will give effect to the vision, are to be developed. The Yarra Strategic Plan will also give effect to Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung peoples place-based policy response to the Act. It also prescribes the establishment of a new statutory body, the Birrarung Council, to be the first independent voice of the Yarra River, as part of recognising it as a living entity.
- Click here to read the Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Act 2017.
- Click here to watch Elders of the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation deliver the Woi wurrung language preamble to the Act and Parliamentary Speech to the Lower House (seen, left).
- Click here to read the Woi wurrung language Preamble to the Act.
- Click here to read the speech delivered by Aunty Alice Kolasa, an Elder of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation to the Lower House prior to the reading of the Woi wurrung language Preamble to the Act.
Above: Photograph depicting the historic moment in June 2017, prior to the introduction of the Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Bill in which Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Elders addressed the Victorian Parliament in both English & Woi wurrung language for the first time, to explain their connection to the Yarra River (Birrarung) and the importance of protecting the river for generations to come. Photograph credit: Jim McFarlane.
Page last updated: 30/11/21