The Werribee River Association has always believed it must act strategically in order to achieve better outcomes for the Werribee River and its catchment.

The need to do so was first illustrated in initiatives to form a body to protect the Werribee River as noted in a local report by Werribee Jaycees on the health of the river and its wildlife, in 1972.1

This was a call to form a River Preservation Society, 2, and the Society was asked to consider the whole of the river catchment, “…not merely the water and banks.”3

Then, the Werribee River Association was formed in 1981. WRA’s first role and objectives stated were:

…to act as a catalyst and co-coordinating body …:
1. To maintain, improve and develop the Werribee River catchment, for the purpose of passive recreation and sport while conserving the native flora and fauna.
2. To promote the wider appreciation and use of the river in accordance with the first objective by the residents of, and visitors to, the region.
3. To achieve a balance between the quality and quantity of water within the Werribee River catchment necessary to fulfill the above objectives and the use of the river water for irrigation purposes.” 4

Since 1981 we have continually worked for positive outcomes in:

  • Water quality
  • Environmental flows
  • Appropriate urban development
  • River strategies and policies
  • State Government policy
  • Catchment management
  • Better Bays and Waterways Plan and,
  • Biolinks planning

WRA believes it must continue to act strategically to ensure that the river and its fauna and flora are protected, so that future generations will receive the benefits of a healthy river for their own well-being and good health.

1 “Light and Darkness: an investigation into the present and future possibilities…of…Werribee’s river.” Werribee Jaycees 1972 
2 Werribee Banner P.5 Oct 4 1972
3 Sir Vernon Christie Werribee Banner Werribee Banner P.6 Dec 6 1972
4 Werribee River Association Role and Objectives 1981

Community environmental organisations call to be heard,
July 2021

The Werribee River Association has joined together with other community and environmental organisations calling for consultation in the development of the new Sustainable Water Strategy for the Central and Gippsland regions of Victoria.

The organisations are deeply concerned over the current deterioration of rivers, waterways and wetlands in southern Victoria, fearing the next Sustainable Water Strategy will be more of the same extractive and polluting water management practices.

Prior water strategies have viewed water as an endlessly extractable resource for human use, with little regard for ecologically sustainable development principles. Rivers and catchments are depleted by over-extraction, wetlands on the brink of collapse due to insufficient flows, the groundwater-dependent ecosystems drying and dying, and, contaminants are leaching into our waterways.

Future pressures from population growth, climate change and the decades of pollutants in waterways means now it is very important to get this strategy right.

The joint statement is dissatisfied with the consultation process for the Sustainable Water Strategy for the Central and Gippsland, stating it has been superficial and certainly hasn’t encouraged participation or broad public dialogue.

The joint statement has been sent to Acting Water Minister, Richard Wynne, and makes a series of recommendations for ensuring human health and environmental protection is at the core of the new strategy.

Joint Statement to the Central and Gippsland SWS July 2021