New research reveals local lakes, rivers and waterways provide millions of dollars in economic benefit to Western Victoria’s regional economy.
The Wimmera Southern Mallee Socio-Economic Value of Recreational Water found that 24 waterways in the region provide $27.5 million in economic benefit and attracted more than 437,000 visitors last year alone.
The Wimmera River contributed $4.75 million to the economy last year, with events such as the Horsham Fishing Competition injecting around $400,000 into the region over Easter – boosting jobs and the local economy.
The research also found that the river contributes more than $2.5 million annually in physical and mental health benefits by providing the local community with a valuable recreational resource.
The report highlights that residents who have access to local waterways are likely to be healthier, more social and more physically active.
The findings will guide future investment and development of waterways in the region, and underpin the Labor Government’s water plan Water for Victoria, which recognises the recreational value of water to communities.
Water for Victoria is supported by a record $220 million investment in waterway health by the Labor Government and recognises the value of giving water back to the environment to ensure healthy waterways are maintained.
The Labor Government has also introduced legislation in Parliament which will ensure the recreational importance of water is enshrined in law.
The research was commissioned by Wimmera Development Association, funded by the Andrews Labor Government and created in partnership with Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, Goulburn-Murray Water and six Wimmera Southern Mallee councils.
The community is encouraged to have their say about the benefits of local waterways to them at wda.org.au.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Water Lisa Neville
“This study shows the importance of recreational water to regional economies and for the health and wellbeing of communities.”
“The research will help us target investment to ensure the health of these waterways as key recreational assets for regional towns.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Regional Development and Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford
“Recreational fishing has never been better across Western Victoria - the iconic lakes across the Wimmera are a tourism drawcard. From camping, fishing, walking – there is something for everyone to enjoy."
Reviewed 19 August 2020