The Victorian Government has released the Waterways of the West Action Plan to ensure Melbourne’s western waterways are healthy and thriving for generations to come. It responds to the Waterways of the West community vision.

The Waterways of the West includes the whole network of creeks and rivers from Moonee Ponds (Moonee Moonee) Creek to Little River (Worrin-yaloke), including the Maribyrnong (Mirrangbamurn) and Werribee (Wirribi Yaluk) rivers and their tributaries, and other waterways such as Stony Creek, Skeleton Creek and Lollypop Creek. View the map (PDF, 694.3 KB).

Waterways are essential to community health, to the liveability of local neighbourhoods and to the broader environment. Rivers, streams and creeks have special significance for Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians, encompassing cultural, spiritual, social, economic and environmental values.

The Waterways of the West region faces multiple challenges resulting from historic land and waterway use, population growth and climate change. Melbourne’s West is rapidly transforming, with a forecast million additional residents over the next 30 years, and with this transformation comes opportunity to protect and enhance the waterways and their surrounding lands to better connect communities to nature for health and wellbeing. This has driven government’s commitment to deliver a Waterways of the West Action Plan.

A picture of a river with a weir at bottom. There are fields on the left side of the river. On the right side is a park and a suburban landscape in the background

Southern Rural Water Diversion Weir on the Werribee River.

The Action Plan

The Waterways of the West Action Plan is a five-year plan that responds to the recommendations of the Waterways of the West Ministerial Advisory Committee and the Waterways of the West Community Vision. The Plan identifies nine directions and 40 actions with short-term actions to deliver results within the first year of implementation and longer-term actions to deliver within five years. It will drive enduring protection for waterways and their parklands by addressing waterway pollution, waterway amenity and stronger land use planning and development controls and standards to guard against inappropriate development.

The Action Plan recognises the Waterways of the West as living and integrated natural entities: the rivers, creeks and wetlands and the landscapes through which they flow that form Maribyrnong (Mirrangbamurn) and Werribee (Wirribi Yaluk) catchments. The plan also recognises the Bunurong, Wadawurrung and Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Traditional Owners as the ‘voices of the living entities’ on their Country.

The Waterways of the West initiative builds on an existing policy base that provides guidance for the protection of the Waterways of the West.

These policies include:

These policies emphasise the importance of liveable cities, of protecting waterways and of enhancing their associated parklands as well as the importance of embedding Traditional Owners and their values, knowledge and culture in decision making.

The Victorian Government has invested $17 million over four years towards improving our iconic urban waterways. This includes which includes funding for the Waterways of the West, the Yarra Strategic Plan and the Rivers of the Barwon (Barre Warre Yulluk) Action Plan.

Read the Action Plan

A unique area

What makes the Waterways of the West such special, unique places in need of protection? Listen to Traditional Owners, community champions and waterways experts talk about this unique landscape in the video below:

Page last updated: 17/04/23