Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

Senator the Hon Don Farrell

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water

Derwent Estuary Program wins top river prize

Media release
12 October 2010

The Derwent Estuary Program has been awarded the 2010 National Riverprize for outstanding catchment management activities.

The National Riverprize, administered by the International Riverfoundation, was first awarded in 2001 to recognise the significant work being done to improve river management across Australia.

Senator Don Farrell, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, presented the prize at the 13th International Riversymposium held in Perth.

“I congratulate the Derwent Estuary Program for their important contribution to improving catchment health in the Derwent Estuary and demonstrating excellence in catchment management,” Senator Farrell said.

“The Derwent Estuary project started 11 years ago, and this award acknowledges their long-term commitment to improving river health and supporting healthy waterways – a key priority under the Federal Labor Government’s Water for the Future initiative.

The Derwent Estuary Program is a regional partnership between the community, the Tasmanian Government, six councils, five businesses and scientists. The program has dramatically reduced the levels of organics, heavy metals and sewage derived nutrients flowing into the Estuary which lies at the heart of Hobart’s metropolitan area. The Derwent is showing promising signs of recovery, with iconic species, such as the Little Penguin, increasing in numbers since 2004.

“The Derwent Estuary Program is an excellent example of what can be achieved by local communities working with government to better manage rivers and catchments into the future,” Senator Farrell said.

  • “I would also like to commend the important work undertaken by the other three finalists.
  • “The Cooks River Foreshores Working Group, who are facilitating a collaborative program to resuscitate one of Australia's most polluted, yet iconic river systems, the Cooks River, in Sydney's inner southwest.
  • “The Mallee Catchment Management Authority, who are reviving the Hattah Lakes along with the threatened plants and animals the Lakes support, in Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, 60 kilometres south of Mildura, Victoria.
  • “And the Lake Illawarra Authority, who are restoring Lake Illawarra, addressing water quality issues, and improving seagrass beds and saltmarsh meadows in Lake Illawarra, New South Wales.”

Through the Water for the Future initiative, the Federal Labor Government is providing $1 million over five years for the National Riverprize, acknowledging some of the great river management achievements around the country.