Inner West river groups welcome $200 million commitment to urban waterways

                                                            Thursday, 7 February 2019

Two of Sydney’s leading urban river advocacy groups have welcomed Federal Labor’s $200 million pledge to clean up our city’s waterways.

The funding is aimed at local councils and community and environmental action groups that are already working towards improving the health of urban rivers and waterways.

Darcy Byrne, Mayor of the Inner West and Chair of the Cooks River Alliance, welcomed the multimillion-dollar commitment, saying “it is just the funding we need to rehabilitate the Cooks River”.

“Urban rivers are national assets and Federal Labor’s commitment is the kind of ambitious investment we need from the Commonwealth to bring or waterways back to life.

“All of the Cooks River Alliance member councils – Bayside, City of Canterbury Bankstown, Inner West and Strathfield – are ready to go with millions of dollars’ worth of costed, shovel-ready projects that will result in a healthy Cooks River. But we can’t do it alone. We urgently need funding,” said Mayor Byrne.

The River has suffered from extreme degradation over the years. For decades, the catchment has been stripped of its natural vegetation, while stormwater pollution and rubbish dumping have caused a severe decline in water quality.

“There needs to be bipartisan support for the river’s rehabilitation. In the lead up to State and Federal elections this year, I’m calling on Government and Opposition to make urban waterway funding a priority.

“We must do more as a collective group to rehabilitate water quality and biodiversity in the Cooks River. All parties need to commit to funding and action to bring the river back to life,” Mayor Byrne added.

Inner West Councillor Mark Drury, who is the Chair of the Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG), also welcomed the announcement.

“An investment of this size is essential if we really want to improve our magnificent urban rivers and waterways and undo years of neglect and damage.

“It also comes at the right time as the PRCG starts to implement our recently approved Masterplan to make the Parramatta River swimmable again and to launch three new swimming sites by 2025.

“We are still waiting to hear from the Morrison Government on a similar proposal to invest in the future of our waterways.”

For further information, please contact John Roper at

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Page last updated: 07 Feb 2019