Designing protections for the Gippsland Lakes in partnership with the community
In September 2020, we kicked off a project working on proposals to improve laws and governance around the Gippsland Lakes.
Participatory design process
The Gippsland Lakes project applies EJA’s unique model of participatory design processes to partner with local community groups advocating for improved protection and restoration of rivers and waterways. Our previous participatory design process has successfully led to Victoria’s landmark Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Act, and proposals currently being considered by the Victorian government for new forms of governance for waterways in Melbourne’s west and on the Barwon River.
Threats to our waterways
The Gippsland Lakes face distinctive and serious challenges and threats. This includes the impacts of mining, irrigation, and the dredging of a permanent entrance to the Lakes. Many of these challenges are the result of broader governance and legal issues including the impacts of colonialisation and a fragmentation of legal and bureaucratic processes. In partnership with key community groups, including the Gippsland Environment Group, we’ll be will working to identify and advocate for legal and governance solutions to address these challenges and threats.
The participatory design process includes a series of workshops that create a space to discuss and work through issues, visions, options and proposals for a new approach to legal protection. The first Gippsland Lakes community workshop was held on Tuesday 8 September 2020. The focus of this workshop was to identify and prioritise key issues relevant to law and policy reform for governance of the Gippsland Lakes.
The second workshop was held on Tuesday 6 October 2020, and was all about visions for the future of the Gippsland Lakes.
The third workshop was held on 10 November 2020, with a focus on possible options and models for law reform.
The fourth and final workshop was held on 19 March 2021, to review the draft proposal document and focus on strategic options for promoting the proposals, in particular moving towards an overarching Gippsland Lakes and Catchment Act.
Following the workshop, in April 2021, we also published our report, Unsustainable water management in the Gippsland Lakes: a legal analysis.