New Body To Protect And Promote The Yarra River

The Andrews Labor Government will establish a new statutory body, the Birrarung Council, to provide voice for the Yarra River.

The Council will provide advice to Government to ensure the ongoing protection of the river and delivers on key priorities under the Water for Victoria plan and the Yarra River Protection Act 2017.

The committee will advise on how to best utilise the Yarra for community and recreational use, and how to best protect the river’s health – so it can be enjoyed for years to come.


Eleven members have been appointed, led by Chair Christopher Chesterfield, who bring extensive knowledge and industry experience:

·         Mr Allan Wandin·         Mr Ronald Jones

·         Ms Margaret Gardiner

·         Mr Warwick Lesson

·         Ms Bronwyn South

·         Mr Andrew Kelly·         Ms Prue Digby

·         Ms Kirsten Bauer

·         Ms Erin O’Donnell

·         Ms Alexandra Lee

Council members include several Traditional Owners, environmental and agricultural industry groups, and local community groups.

The Yarra River Protection Act is the first act in Victorian history to be co-titled in Woi-wurrung, giving Traditional Owners a permanent voice in the planning and management of the Yarra River.

The Labor Government has toughened planning controls to prevent private inappropriate development, is and introducing mandatory height limits at the river’s edge to safeguard the river into the future.

As stated by Minister for Water Lisa Neville

“The Council is a great example of our Water for Victoria plan in action – to recognise Aboriginal water values and improve the health of our waterways and catchments.”

As stated by Minister for Environment Lily D’Ambrosio

“The Yarra River is a vital part of Victoria’s environment, this council will ensure all voices can come to the table and be heard to ensure its ongoing protection.”

As stated by Minister for Planning Richard Wynne

“The Yarra is an icon of Melbourne and holds a special place in Victoria’s heart – we’re ensuring its protected and has a safe and secure future.”

As stated by Chair of the Birrarung Council Christopher Chesterfield

“The Council offers an important voice to deliver better protection and management of the river to protect the river into the future.”

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