PALM welcomes the recent annoucement from DELWP of planning scheme amendment VC 201 designed to give better protection to rivers like the Moorabool. How significant these changes will be remains to be seen but they should assist advocacy groups like PALM who have had to work hard to protect the river and its flood plains from developer excesses.

Amendment VC201

Stronger planning policies and landscape controls to protect the Rivers of the Barwon, Waterways of the West and rivers and creeks across Victoria

Waterways, lakes, wetlands and billabongs are vital features of Victoria’s diverse landscape. They sustain ecosystems and communities while providing the opportunity for us to connect with nature, relax and play. These environmental assets also have significant ecological, cultural, social and landscape significance.

Gazetted on 16 December 2022, Planning Scheme Amendment VC201 delivers stronger recognition and protection for our waterways, lakes, wetlands and billabongs. It aims to improve waterway health, amenity and access while acknowledging the important community and cultural values associated with waterways.

Amendment VC201 provides a substantial acknowledgement of Traditional Owner values and custodianship of waterways. It recognises the importance of protecting the living cultural values and heritage relating to waterway systems.

Now included in the Planning Scheme is the following:

Rivers of the Barwon
To maintain and enhance the natural landscape, biodiversity, cultural and social values, and the
Traditional Owner living cultural heritage values of the Rivers of the Barwon, comprising the
Barwon (Parwan), Leigh (Waywatcurtan), Moorabool (Mooroobull) and Yarrowee (Yarowee)
Rivers, their tributaries and wetlands.
Protect places of living cultural heritage value to the region’s Traditional Owners including the
confluences of the Leigh, Barwon and Moorabool Rivers, Lal Lal Falls and the Lake Connewarre
Protect and enhance the environmental qualities and landscape values of the headwaters of the
Barwon, Yarrowee and Moorabool Rivers and the tributaries of the Rivers of the Barwon.
Protect and enhance wetlands and significant waterbodies including Lake Gherang, Wurdiboluc
Reservoir, Lake Modewarre, Lake Thurrumbong, Lake Ayrey, West Barwon Dam, and Ramsar
Convention listed Lake Connewarre, Reedy Lake and Hospital Swamp from development that
threatens their ability to support terrestrial, aquatic and avian species.
Protect views of significant landscapes including gorges and waterfalls along the Moorabool River,
including the Lal Lal Falls, the steep escarpments and falls of the Barwon River, the open rural
scenery of the Leigh and Yarrowee Rivers and the expansive and open wetlands of the Lake
Connewarre system.
Balance the protection and restoration of the Rivers of the Barwon with planned urban growth and
Design and site development in urban growth areas with river frontage to provide opportunities
for waterway access, activation, and conservation.
Encourage development to create links between open space corridors along the rivers with activity
centres including Geelong and Ballarat.
Protect and prioritise movement and green linkages and public access to the river along river
corridors including the Wallaby Track in Ballarat, River Track in Inverleigh, and Barwon River
Trail in Geelong.
Protect and enhance existing and proposed parklands along the Barwon, Leigh, Moorabool and
Yarrowee Rivers.