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Victorian ALP announces plan for Yarra River Protection Act

MEDIA STATEMENT   21 November 2014

Promising Act to Protect Precious River

“Labor’s plan, announced today, to introduce a Yarra River Protection Act” is welcomed news” says the Yarra Riverkeeper Association.

Association spokesperson, Ian Penrose says “today’s announcement acknowledges the importance of the river and its corridor, and the need for its protection. The Yarra River corridor is Metropolitan Melbourne’s prime wildlife habitat and is the key outdoor space for recreational and nature-based activities, which are vital to the city’s liveability.”

Today’s announcement says “Labor will preserve rivers and open spaces, for the health of our future generations…Labor will introduce a Yarra River Protection Act to guard the river corridor from inappropriate development. A new Trust will develop standardised planning controls for the Yarra, and work with agencies to promote the river’s amenity and significance”.

Mr Penrose say, “that whilst there are no details yet about what might be in the proposed Act, we hope that it will address the stresses that Melbourne’s burgeoning growth is putting on the river from pollution, water extraction, and encroaching urban development.”

“In the planning arena, we hope it will

  • Regulate that any new building in the corridor is no taller, bigger or closer to the river than what’s already on the site, in order to stop further degradation.
  • Ensure that all planning decisions in the corridor are overseen by a single authority which has a whole-of-river remit, beyond local council boundaries.
  • Promote a long-term vision for the Yarra corridor as a continuous corridor of public green space and unbroken wildlife habitat along the length of the river.”

Mr Penrose concluded that “this is a welcomed announcement from the Labor party, particularly in a state election that has, to date, paid inadequate attention to protecting or enhancing our precious national environment.”

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Yarra riverkeeper Ian Penrose steps down after nine years. Herald Sun

THOUGH this is now the third time he has retired from a career, the outgoing Yarra riverkeeper Ian Penrose insists this time it’s for good.

For the past nine years Mr Penrose has been the face of Melbourne’s iconic river.

His time in the role has been spent lobbying politicians, hosting countless river tours and being the waterway’s best friend, fighting for both its short and long-term survival.

“I’m 65 now and it’s time I give someone else a go,” Mr Penrose said.

Mr Penrose is being replaced by Kew’s Andrew Kelly

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Protecting the Yarra must be a priority – The Age editorial

On visiting Melbourne in 1893, James Goudie wrote that, even after all he had seen in Europe, this was “one of the finest cities”. The Scottish traveller was much taken by the beauty and sophistication of the Botanic Gardens, by the fine civic buildings and ornate mansions of Melbourne, but he held grave reservations about the river that ran through it. The Yarra, he said, was “the filthiest piece of water I ever had the misfortune to be afloat on”.

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New Riverkeeper profile in The Age

The Yarra River is coming under increasing pressure from development along its banks and needs even greater planning protections put in place, its newly appointed riverkeeper says.

Andrew Kelly began last week as the new Yarra Riverkeeper, replacing the first-ever keeper of the river, Ian Penrose, who was in the job for almost a decade.
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