VICTORIAN Planning Minister Richard Wynne last week announced a plan for a new committee to overhaul the planning rules that govern the 240-kilometre stretch of the river between Richmond and Warrandyte.
According to the Minister, the new Yarra River Protection Ministerial Advisory Committee will drive consultation and draft the new Yarra River Protection Act, legislating for long-term protection.
The committee will recommend changes to state planning rules to allow for consistent decision-making and address issues such as building heights, setbacks, overshadowing and vegetation protection.
The committee will be chaired by Chris Chesterfield who has nearly 30 years in the public sector, water and environment industry, and is nationally recognised for his leadership in waterway and urban water management.
"The Yarra will struggle to cope with the demands of a growing modern city without our protection," Mr Wynne said, adding that Melbourne's population growth and higher-density development means "we have to act now."
"Over the years there has been an inconsistent approach to managing development along the Yarra. We need tougher policy regarding height and development, removal of vegetation and overshadowing," the Minister said.
The consultation, to begin in early 2016, will include surrounding residents, businesses, river users and the wider community. Work to protect the Yarra is also expected to inform a similar plan for the Maribyrnong River.