The Andrews Labor Government is giving landholders clarity about the management of drainage systems, cutting red tape and helping to reduce financial loss from water-logged paddocks and other drainage issues.
Minister for Water Lisa Neville today released the new rural drainage strategy and announced a range of pilot studies to address rural drainage issues.
The Rural Drainage Strategy is the product of extensive consultation and aims to balance support of agricultural productivity, with protection of the environment and cultural assets.
The strategy clearly defines roles and responsibilities for the first time, helping landholders better manage dryland rural drainage or excess water on their land, and properly restore areas no longer requiring drainage.
The local council will be the first point of contact and the local Catchment Management Authority will assist with approvals and other arrangements through this process.
Importantly, the strategy recognises that the ongoing management of rural drainage is a decision that must be made locally and driven by the landholders. To do this, landholders will get information they need with guidance on costs, benefits and simplified approvals to help them developing drainage management plans.
The Labor Government is also providing $4.9 million to roll out 11 pilot studies to address difficult regional rural drainage issues, boost local capability to deliver the strategy and help landholders prioritise on-ground works.
The pilot projects include over $1 million for Woady Yaloak and Lough Calvert in the Corangamite region, $140,000 for the Moe River flats and $344,000 for the Budj Bim landscape. The pilot will also provide $200,000 for the south west, which will consider local concerns at Lake Gillear.
The strategy is a key initiative of Water for Victoria, with funding for the pilot being provided through the Labor Government’s $25 million investment in supporting community resilience to floods and the record $222 million investment in waterway and catchment health.
The strategy responds to findings from the 2013 Environment and Natural Resource Committee Inquiry into Rural Drainage in Victoria, which revealed community concern about the management and maintenance of Victoria’s rural drainage systems.
The Strategy and information on the pilot projects is available at water.vic.gov.au.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Water Lisa Neville
“Landholders told us that rural drainage was a problem – this strategy gives them certainty and sets out clear criteria to how to manage drainage at the local level.”
“Now governments – both state and local – can work together to cut red tape and help reduce financial stress associated with rural drainage problems across Victoria.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020