State Water Minister Lisa Neville took a tour of the Bendigo Creek Project this week to spruik the government’s $600,000 budget commitment to the waterway.
The funding is part of $116 million contained in Tuesday’s budget to improve the health of waterways across the state and Ms Neville described the Bendigo works as “critical”.
“It’s a project that’s not only going to have incredible benefits for the local community [through] improved amenity around the Bendigo Creek but also importantly it’s a really strong connection to all the local indigenous communities in providing some real opportunities for ongoing jobs and training and through that providing better outcomes for this creek,” she said.
“Waterways like this, when they’re running well, can help provide a cooling effect for our communities as climate change takes effect and temperatures rise, so good quality waterways are so important to both economic and cultural and also our health and wellbeing outcomes.”
The creek project – known as Wanyarram Dhelk in the local Indigenous language, meaning “good waterhole” – is a collaboration with traditional owners from the Dja Dja Wurrung community and project officer Shane Anstee said the work was done “on behalf of them”.
“We’ve had direct consultation with the Dja Dja Wurrung community about the project, in particular what their views on the Bendigo Creek were and what we hoped to deliver through the project,” he said.
“It’s been an aspiration of Dja Dja Wurrung people to improve the water quality of the Bendigo Creek and these kinds of activities and these projects allow that to happen so it’s integral that the Aboriginal community are involved.”
Mr Anstee said the project also represented an opportunity for local Indigenous people to work on country.
“There are several Dja Dja Wurrung people who work on the on ground crew through to rangers to on-ground works personnel, we’re always after works crew and Dja Dja Wurrung people are more than happy to come in and help out when we need them to,” he said.