Governance of the Lower Yarra River

The Lower Yarra River is governed via a variety of legislative and non-legislative mechanisms, which are administered by a number of State Government departments and authorities. These include statutory rules, court rulings, council bylaws, orders in council, notices, guidelines, practice statements, circulars, codes of practice and so on.

The following summary, provided by the Office of Regulation Reform, provides an overview of the major areas of control and influence.

Major Agencies

Department of Infrastructure

The Marine and Ports Division of D.O.I. provides advice on policy and regulations, legislation reviews and safety and environmental matters. The Department of Infrastructure also plays an overall policy coordination role for strategic infrastructure along the river.

Tel. 9655 6030

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) provides policy advice on marine conservation, coastal issues and local ports. DELWP has an arrangement with Parks Victoria to enable PV to act as the responsible authority for managing the Yarra River and associated waterways.

Tel. 13 6186

Parks Victoria

Parks Victoria is the major agency responsible for management of the Yarra River waterway. It is responsible for recreational and navigational management of the river from Charles Grimes Bridge to Dights Falls.

Overall responsibilities include the licensing (business) of commercial boat operators, berth leases, licensing of ticketing facilities, event management and authorising river closures.

On a day to day basis, Parks Victoria manages uses of privately owned boats, management of commercial craft, dredging for navigation, management of most public landings, on-river patrolling, dispute management and has input to strategic land/water development proposals.

Tel. 13 1963

City of Melbourne

The City of Melbourne has broad powers to carry out its functions under the Local Government Act 1989.

Specific to the Lower Yarra River, the City of Melbourne has responsibility for the lower and upper promenade of Southbank, leases of the rowing sheds and tourist signage in the area. While the ticket booth arrangements are the responsibility of Parks Victoria, the booths were designed by the City and comply with Council planning requirements. Tel. 9658 9658

City of Melbourne Waterways Unit

The City of Melbourne's waterways unit has jurisdiction over Victoria Harbour and between Charles Grimes Bridge and Bolte Bridge, including 25 metres of water from each bank of the Yarra River. It can create local laws to regulate activities on the water and can issue berthing licences and approve the use of berthing for its jurisidiction.

Tel. 9658 9665

Transport Safety Victoria

The T.S.V is the main agency responsible for safety on Victorian waters, including the Yarra River. It administers the Marine Act 1988, including registration of vessels, regulation of the operation of vessels, pollution prevention, international conventions and enforcement of laws relating to the operations of vessels.

Main responsibilities include the issuing of annual Certificate of Survey to commercial vessels, surveying passenger vessels and hire drive vessels with berthed accommodation, assessment and approval of new vessel design and surveying the construction of new vessels.

Tel. 1800 223 022

Other Agencies

Water Police

The Water Police coordinate marine incidents involving recreational and commercial vessels, and undertake patrols and community liaison. Water Police liaise with Australian Search and Rescue, the Marine Board of Victoria, Australian Volunteer Coast Guard and the Australian Marine Safety Association in relation to incidents, and with Parks Victoria regarding the regulation of signage.

Tel. 9534 2983

Melbourne Port Corporation

M.P.C. plans and coordinates use of land within the Port of Melbourne in relation to berths and associated infrastructure adjoining the river, coordination of land-based recreational opportunities and matters of environmental management and risk within the port area.

Tel. 9628 7555

Melbourne Water

Melbourne Water is responsible for the environmental management of all waterways (including the bed and banks of the Lower Yarra River) and major drainage systems in relation to water quality, flood protection and floodplain management affecting the river.

Tel. 13 1722

Environmental Protection Authority

The EPA enforces the Environmental Protection Act 1970 and licenses discharges of pollutants to the environment, including the Yarra River. The Authority's responsibilities broadly encompass any matter affecting the environmental condition of the river, as well as ensuring that proposals for use of the river are consistent with the State Environment Protection Policy -Schedule 7, Waters of the Yarra Catchment.

Tel. 13 1722

Federation Square Management

Federation Square is privately owned by Federation Square Management, a proprietary limited company wholly owned by the State Government of Victoria.

Federation Square Management is responsible for managing leases at the site.

While a large portion is public space, the private ownership of the land means that Federation Square Management, in collaboration with local authorites (City of Melbourne and Victoria Police etc), plays a significant role in the day-to-day management of the space. Federation Square Management also has ownership of the former “vaults” area adjacent to Federation Wharf (formerly Princes Wharf). Tel. 9655 1900

Visit Victoria

This agency markets the attractions of the Yarra River through its intrastate, interstate and international programs.

It provides advice on significant tourism projects along the river, assesses funding proposals for tourism projects along the river and, through affiliated agencies such as Victorian Tourism Industry Council and Melbourne Convention Bureau, it provides advice on professionalism and standards for tourism operators.

Tel. 9653 9777

State Boating Council

The S.B.C. provides advice to the Minister for Ports and the Marine Board on all matters relating to recreational boating facilities and boating safety.