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Significance of the Rivers of the Barwon

The Barwon (Parwan) 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
  • diverse agricultural and horticultural production and an expanding economy.

These waterways are of great significance to Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung Traditional Owners. In the Wadawurrung language, Barre Warre Yulluk means ‘the great river’ (Yulluk) that runs from the ‘mountains’ (Barre) to the ‘ocean’ (Warre).

It encompasses all major waterways and their tributaries within the Barwon catchment, including the:

  • Barwon (Parwan)
  • Moorabool (Murrabul)
  • Yarrowee (Yarowee)
  • Leigh (Waywatcurtan) rivers.

Action plan

The Victorian Government has released the Rivers of the Barwon (Barre Warre Yulluk) Action Plan to ensure the iconic Barwon catchment can thrive and be enjoyed as a natural treasure for many years to come. This project is in collaboration with the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action.

Strengthened policy and controls for the Rivers of the Barwon

Amendment VC201, gazetted in December 2022, delivers strengthened planning policy and landscape controls, both of which are short-term actions of the Rivers of the Barwon Action Plan.

Find out more about amendment VC201.

Short term actions

The action plan is made up of short term actions to bring immediate benefits to the region. These actions will be delivered by both Planning and Water portfolios.

These actions address:

  • waterway health
  • waterway amenity
  • stronger land use planning and development controls to guard against inappropriate development.

Longer term actions

Longer term actions (within 5 years) include considering necessary changes to institutional arrangements, strengthening planning provisions and boosting the role of Traditional Owners in waterway planning and management.

This action plan will drive an enduring legacy of protection for the region’s waterways and a new way of working, where Traditional Owner and community voices continue to shape waterway protection, with strong support from regulatory, institutional, and legislative arrangements.

Barwon River Ministerial Advisory Committee

In 2019 the Victorian Government appointed the Barwon River Ministerial Advisory Committee to inform new protections for the Barwon catchment, including the Barwon, Leigh, Moorabool and Yarrowee Rivers.

Over a 12-month period, the advisory committee worked with the community, Traditional Owners and industry in development of a discussion paper and a range of recommendations report.  These recommendations have directly informed the Rivers of the Barwon (Barre Warre Yulluk) Action Plan.

The advisory committee’s discussion paper, community consultation report and recommendations report is available under the Documents tab on this page.

Page last updated: 04/01/24


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