Greens announce plan to make the Yarra swimmable again

The Victorian Greens have launched an ambitious plan to make the Yarra/Birrarung clean again, so it’s possible to swim in it within the reaches of the CBD.

The recent Yarra River Action Plan is a great step towards restoring the health of the Yarra, but it’s only the start. It was only 50 years ago that the people of Melbourne swam in the Yarra, and we can make it a reality again.

The Greens’ plan will:

  • Add a new ‘swimmability’ objective to the Yarra River Action Plan
  • Direct responsible authorities to work with the community and identify opportunities for making parts of the Yarra swimmable again, including assessing community proposals such as the Yarra Pools proposal
  • Work with Traditional Owners to ensure their sovereignty is respected and their knowledge informs the health of our rivers
  • Reform the Water Act so that rivers like the Yarra have enough water for a clean and healthy environment
  • Restore riverbanks and create new National Parks to protect water catchments
  • Give the EPA stronger powers to make polluters take responsibility for their contaminated water

Quotes attributable to Victorians Greens member for Melbourne, Ellen Sandell

“Only 50 years ago, people could swim in the Yarra within the reaches of the CBD. There’s no reason we can’t make that a possibility again. It’s ambitious but it’s possible. It would be wonderful for people and the environment if the Yarra was clean enough to swim in.”

Quotes attributable to Greens candidate for Richmond, Kathleen Maltzahn

“Other countries like New Zealand have made cleaning up their rivers a top priority, and we should do. For people in Richmond, Abbotsford and Clifton Hill, the Yarra is their backyard - imagine what summer in the inner city would be like if it was clean enough for them to swim in.”

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