Local Council Elections

Council Elections are near! 

Nominations for Local Council Candidates closed on September 22. Local Councils are at the frontline of environmental protection and improvement, with the Yarra River flowing through many local government areas. This election is an opportunity to alert your local council candidates to the importance of protecting the River corridor for the benefit of your community and the environment.  COVID-19 has further cemented the importance of the Yarra as the lifeblood of Melbourne, giving a place of refuge and leisure to many Melbournians. Yet, pressures such as urban development, climate change, a growing population, and biodiversity loss are increasingly placing the River’s health at risk.  

The nitty gritty  behind why this council election is important 

Why is it important to reach out to local council candidates? The obligations on Councils flow from the Yarra River Protection (Willip-gin Birrarung murron) Act and are incorporated into the Local Government Act. These are: 

A Council:

(a)  must not act inconsistently with any part of a Yarra Strategic Plan that is expressed to be binding on the Council when performing a function or duty or exercising a power under this Act in relation to Yarra River land; and

(b)  must have regard to the Yarra protection principles, and those parts of a Yarra Strategic Plan not expressed to be binding on the Council, when performing a function or duty or exercising a power under this Act in relation to the Yarra Strategic Plan area that may affect Yarra River land.

Who is your local council candidate 

Visit https://www.vec.vic.gov.au/voting/2020-local-council-election/who-are-the-candidates to find out who has put their hand up to be your local councillor. 

Let your candidate know why they should protect your Yarra 

In the leadup to council elections, the Yarra Riverkeepers have penned a letter to candidates for the protection of the Yarra and the Maribyrnong. Please join us in reaching out to council candidates to congratulate them for putting their hand up to undertake a role that is at the forefront of environmental protection and letting them know about the importance of our waterways to the community and the environment. 

Click here to read our letter to candidates of councils along the Yarra.

Click here to read our letter to candidates of councils along the Maribyrnong.

How you can join 

Step 1: Download this letter template or write your own letter 

Step 2: Add the date, your name and signature 

Step 3: Email or post to the relevant candidates address, you can find you local council    candidates here

Step 4: After submitting, encourage others in your community to do the same 

I want to write my own letter, what should I include? 

  • Introduce yourself and mention you’re a constituent of their Local Government Area
  • Include why the Yarra River is important to you and your community
  • Tell them about the local council’s obligations to protect the Yarra River
  • List election commitments that you would like to see should they be elected
  • Mention the Yarra Riverkeepers as being a key stakeholder in protecting the Yarra River

Reasons you could give about why the River is important 

  • The River and its parklands is invaluable for the wellbeing of the community 
  • The Yarra River is the source of 70% of Melbourne’s drinking water
  • Some of the most valuable flora and fauna can be found in the Yarra River Catchment

Some election commitments that you can include in your letter

  • Support a comprehensive Yarra Strategic Plan (currently in draft) 
  • Invest in the river corridor in your municipality and support the investment in the Plan?
  • Support and implement development controls that protect the amenity of the Yarra River
  • Support environmental groups who spend 50,000 hours a year working along the parks of the River


Make sure to keep us updated. Thank you for taking part in promoting the protection and health of the Yarra.

Help the community increase its awareness and appreciation of the River

There are a number of ways that you can help us to protect the Yarra. From becoming a member to volunteering your time, explore how you can help below.