Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Investing to help improve our urban waterways

Media release
5 February 2013

Environment Minister, Tony Burke, today called for community groups across Australia to make an application for Government investment in urban rivers and waterways.

Applications will open shortly under the second round of the Biodiversity Fund and the first round of the Sustainable Environment stream of the Caring for our Country program.

Both funding rounds will focus on projects across target areas that include urban waterways and coastal environments.

Environment Minister, Tony Burke, encouraged communities to look into opportunities that may be available under the programs.

“For too long we have used our urban waterways as a place to build industry and treated like a drain,” Mr Burke said.

“This has meant that much of our waste is flowing out into our oceans and harming the environment.

“Rivers and wetlands should be the most beautiful areas in our community and its time we turned that around.

“Years ago many of our urban rivers had their magnificent natural banks replaced with concrete. The birds and fish which used to populate the areas were lost and pollution has become worse year on year.

“I’ve had enough of waterways being treated like this.

“I want groups to come forward with proposals which will allow rivers, wetlands and lakes to be more like the rivers, wetlands and lakes they once were.”

Information on the Biodiversity Fund will be available shortly on

Information on Caring for our Country funding will be available shortly on