Friends of the Barwon and Environmental Justice Australia convened a series of structured discussions and prepared the proposals set out in this report to achieve a healthy, flowing, life-sustaining Barwon River system.
The Barwon system is at a turning point. It is water system highly modified by human impacts but a singular living and functioning ecosystem nevertheless. Growing pressures on the system from water and land use decisions continue to put serious pressures on the integrity of the Barwon system. Change to the management of this river system is inevitable. The question is in which direction it will proceed. Will priorities that take from the rivers continue, to the detriment and decline of the Barwon system, or will more sustainable and adaptive management prevail?
Our proposals include place-specific legislation for protection of and improvement to these waterways, alongside complementary actions and programs. We propose governance reforms better adapted to recognition of the system as a ‘living’ system. We propose a framework for strategic planning, as well as behaviour-shifting mechanisms applying to how decisions are made and resources are directed to management of these waterways.