Wednesday, 22 February 2023

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Ministers statements: Yarra strategic plan

Ministers statements: Yarra strategic plan

Harriet SHING (Eastern Victoria – Minister for Water, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Commonwealth Games Legacy, Minister for Equality) (12:06): Today is an important occasion, being the tabling of the first ever report this morning on the implementation of Burndap Birrarung Burndap Umarkoo, or the Yarra strategic plan. I would like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung and the Bunurong as the traditional custodians of the lands through which the Birrarung flows. I recognise both Wurundjeri’s and Bunurong’s deep and ongoing spiritual connection to their country, and I pay my respects to their elders past and present.

I also today want to acknowledge that the voice and the influence of Aunty Margaret Gardiner, the late leader of so many discussions on cultural water, water as a living entity and progress toward self-determination and reconciliation, continues to be felt. Aunty Margaret was an extraordinary advocate for the river. She will be deeply missed and she leaves an almighty legacy.

I also thank and congratulate the Birrarung Council on this inaugural report on implementation of Burndap Birrarung Burndap Umarkoo and for joining us here today and indeed joining me earlier this morning to talk about the impact of this report and the work that needs to go on. Special mention – and he is indeed here today in the gallery – to Warwick Leeson OAM and also Erin, Jackson, Alex, Jesse, Kirsten, Bronwyn and Chris, the chair of the council, for so much hard work in consultation, in partnership and in collaboration with communities, stakeholders, local government authorities and indeed a range of other people whose voices are important as we work toward self-determination and as we work toward better understanding the values and the importance of cultural water.

The focus of the council in leadership, bringing the understanding and the principles that underpin the act to the fore in that work, is of vital importance. I congratulate everybody who has been involved. I am so pleased to see public agencies and local government make really significant progress during critical early stages of the implementation of this plan. Clear advice from the council has been of crucial importance. Thank you so much for the work that you do. Well done on this inaugural report.