Jan 28, 2019

Media Release – Labor will Clean Up Urban Rivers and Waterways – Monday, 28 January 2019

A Shorten Labor Government will restore urban rivers to their natural beauty – with a $200 million investment to ensure all Australians can benefit from the natural beauty of our waterways.

Australia’s the nation of the “great outdoors”, but for too long, our rivers, creeks and wetlands have been treated like industrial waste drains, ending up polluted, dirty and littered with shopping trolleys rather than being safe spaces for families, kids and school groups to visit.

That’s why Labor will engage state and local governments, local councils, community groups and local environmental organisations to bring urban waterways and habitat corridors back to health.

Local environmental action groups will be able to apply for small grants, benefitting our urban environment, creating jobs and also re-engaging, educating and mobilising local communities to act on local environmental protection.

Labor’s $200 million investment will unlock grant funding for projects to clean up our rivers including:

  • Building wetlands to capture and clean and filter stormwater.
  • Revegetation and tree planting along corridors.
  • Citizen science and education programs along creeks and corridors, including bush kinder.
  • Bird boxes and waste capture.
  • Employment of indigenous rangers.
  • Turning urban waterways back in to creeks and rivers again through changing hard surfaces back to natural surfaces (cement turned to river banks).

Community groups work hard to protect and revitalise their waterways – but it’s a day in, day out battle. This investment will give them the support and resources they sorely need.

Labor understands that local organisations with ‘boots on the ground’ are the most passionate and effective organisations in combating environmental degradation and promoting sustainability.

Despite the size of our urban environments, they are often still home to many species of wildlife, fish and birds. Reinvigorating these spaces will create new habitat for animals that have been struggling to find a home.

These rivers are the principal waterways to our oceans – that’s why this project is so important to intercept storm water waste and catch it before it makes it to the ocean.

Labor has a proud history of protecting our environment. To be good custodians of our country we need to make sure that we have sustainable and long term policies in place. This is why Labor has made progressive and sensible policies to act on climate change, large scale land clearing, to protect our oceans from over fishing and marine pollution and to clean up our rivers –  whether they be in the Murray-Darling Basin or in the suburbs of our major cities.

In contrast, the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government have consistently failed to provide federal environment programs that adequately address the urgent need for urban river rehabilitation.

Our cities were built around beautiful, natural rivers because they are a great opportunity to stay connected to nature.   Labor will work to restore our urban rivers and river banks to health so that they are a place for local recreation and connection to nature, not an alternative to the rubbish tip.

Only Labor is serious about protecting the environment and making sure it’s there for future generations to enjoy – action on climate change, investing in the environment, and maintaining Australia’s status as the “great outdoors”.