An alliance of community and environment groups have made a public plea to the Victorian government to drastically change tack on water management across the state or risk leaving Victoria high and dry.
The alliance has published a joint statement and written to Acting Water Minister, Richard Wynne, as the government prepares the Central and Gippsland Sustainable Water Strategy (CGSWS) – a strategy that will lock in the next 10 years of water management for an area covering waterways and catchments south of the Great divide right down to the coast and all the way from the Otways to East Gippsland.
The groups fear the new strategy will repeat decades of unsustainable water management practices which has seen the deterioration of river ecosystem health across the state and made no substantial departure from the extractive practices that endanger our waterways.
They also assert that the concerns of community and environment groups have been ignored in an opaque process and in favour of a commodification approach that is in direct contradiction with sustainability and could lead to further deterioration of waterways and even ecosystem collapse.
The CGSWS encompasses a huge portion of Victoria’s rivers and waterways including the Yarra, Barwon, Latrobe, Thompson, Snowy and Mitchell rivers. The joint statement outlines the alliance’s concerns about unsustainable water management practices across the regions and makes a series of recommendations for ensuring environmental protection is at the core of the new CGSWS.
Signatories to the joint statement are: Environmental Justice Australia, Yarra Riverkeeper, Environment Victoria, People for a Living Moorabool, Werribee River Association, Friends of Latrobe Water Inc., Friends of Steele Creek, Gippsland Environment Group, Friends of the Barwon Inc., Friends of the Merri Creek, Friends of the Earth, Melbourne, Upper Deep Creek Landcare Group, Friends of Lower Kororoit Creek Inc., Riddells Creek Landcare, Friends of the Maribyrnong Valley, Jacksons Creek EcoNetwork, Kooyongkoot Alliance, Native Fish Australia (Vic), Gippsland Lakes Recreational Fishing Alliance, Darebin Creek Management Committee Inc., Friends of Banyule, Federation of Environment and Horticulture in the Macedon Ranges, Riverland Conservation Society of Heidelberg, NatureWest Inc., Gisborne Landcare, Warrigal Conservation Society.