The Victorian Government has released a new five year plan that will co-ordinate the $1 billion worth of works being rolled out over across the state’s waterways to improve the health of the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay.


State Environment Minister Ryan Smith released A Cleaner Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay plan of action while opening the 15th International River Symposium in Melbourne.


Mr Smithsaid the co-ordination plan would assist in driving investment and allow greater focus on improving the state’s waterways.


“This is a plan that sets out a clear path of investment, action and responsibility to improve the quality of the Yarra and Port Phillip Bay,” Mr Smith said.


“I want people to understand the work that is being done across our state’s waterways from Victoria’s catchments to the coast, and encourage a new sense of environmental citizenship.


 “This plan outlines the actions we will take to co-ordinate practical, on-ground environmental works to deliver significant, tangible and obvious benefits for the Yarra and Port Phillip Bay and to help the public and wider community to not only better understand the works being carried out – but also to provide suggestions on how they can play a role too.


A Cleaner Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay sets out four key priorities:

  • Clearer, more responsive management;
  • Preventing pollution and reducing litter;
  • Providing user-friendly, accessible information; and
  • Support for Victorians to care for and protect our iconic river and bay, including litter prevention and clean up.


Mr Smith said the action plan set out 17 new priority actions, which included: 

  • identifying litter hotspots and forming community partnerships to reduce litter;
  • better co-ordinating the work of agencies responsible for protecting the waterways;
  • investigating and trialing improved early warning and community information programs for sewage spills and leaks affecting waterways; and
  • improving key water quality monitoring programs, like the Port Phillip Bay Beach Report.