Intention to amend Barwon River waterway rules

The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is seeking to amend the waterway rules for the Barwon River through Geelong. This relates to the stretch of river from Orana Road to the Lower Breakwater (just upstream of Lake Connewarre). The Corangamite CMA is the appointed waterway manager for this stretch of the river under the Marine Safety Act 2010 and is making this request to Safe Transport Victoria - Maritime to change the waterway rules.

The proposed changes to the rules are based on the CMA’s core waterway management functions, which are:
- Managing vessel activities and movement, moorings and berthing locations, and navigational aids that identify regulations and hazards, anchorage and dredging areas
- Minimising the risk of environmental damage from the operation of vessels
- Allowing for the safety and equity of on-water use on the Barwon River for a broad range of users
- Cultural heritage management and considerations
- Ensuring compatibility of waterway use with surrounding land

Why review the rules?

The Corangamite CMA has identified a need to review and update the waterway rules for the Barwon River following the planned removal of four spans of the Ovoid Sewer Aqueduct in Breakwater. Barwon Water has been granted a permit by Heritage Victoria to remove the spans for the purposes of public safety and improving access to the Barwon River and surrounding land. The removal of the spans opens the opportunity for the public to access the lower part of the river more freely.

As the rules have not been updated since 1991, the removal of part of the Ovoid Sewer Aqueduct provides the Corangamite CMA the opportunity to review the waterway rules, not just for the lower part of the river, but for the entire stretch from Orana Road to the Lower Breakwater.

We are now exhibiting the final draft rules (as per the attached proposed waterway rules pages 4-10) for general public consultation. 

This public consultation phase will be open for four weeks from Wednesday the 7th of February 2024 to Wednesday 6th of March 2024.

A community drop-in session to view the draft rules and discuss the proposed changes with the Corangamite CMA will be held on Wednesday 14th February 2024, between 4:30 and 6:30pm at the Nyaal Meeting Room (Level 2) Geelong Library and Heritage Centre at 51 Little Malop St, Geelong.

Download and review the draft Barwon River Waterway Rules here:

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* 1. What is your postcode/s

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* 2. How do you use the Barwon River in Geelong?


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* 3. What aspects of the proposed rule changes do you like?

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* 4. Will the rule changes impact the way you use the river?

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* 5. Do you have any concerns about the proposed rule changes?


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* 6. What aspects of the proposed rule changes do you like?

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* 7. Will the rule changes impact the way you use the river?

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* 8. Do you have any concerns about the proposed rule changes?

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* 9. Would you like to stay informed?

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find the current Barwon River waterway rules?
The current waterway rules for the Barwon River (between the Lower Breakwater and Orana Road) are detailed in Schedule 7, of the Guide to Vessel Operating and Zoning Rules. Link: Rules And Exclusion Zones | Safe Transport Victoria.

Who polices the application of the river rules? (e.g., speed limits and boating)
The approach to compliance will follow existing procedures on the Barwon River, where the public follows established rules. When compliance is necessary, Corangamite CMA collaborates with Safe Transport Victoria – Maritime and undertakes an investigation of the matter.

What is the definition of a permitted vessel on the Barwon River?
Under Waterway Rules, Schedule 7 Barwon River, permitted vessels are defined as: No vessel of more than six (6) metres in length and two and a half (2.5) metres in beam is permitted on the Barwon River.

Can I fish from the banks of the Barwon River?
Yes, the Barwon River through Geelong reserves; Queens Park Bridge to Breakwater, Geelong, have ample locations where you can sit on the bank of the river and cast a line.

Where can I obtain a printed copy of the Draft Barwon River waterway rules?
A printed copy of the Draft Barwon River waterway rules can be collected from the administration desk at the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority office (64 Dennis St) Colac VIC 3250 and Barwon Water office (55-67 Ryrie St) Geelong VIC 3220. 

What engagement or consultation has been undertaken to date?
Over two and a half years, extensive consultations occurred with key stakeholders, including the Barwon River Users Group (e.g., Barwon Valley Water Ski Club, Geelong Rowing Association, Geelong Water Ski Club, and VRfish), the area’s Traditional Owners, the Wadawurrung, and agencies, including Safe Transport Victoria – Maritime, Barwon Water, the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, Parks Victoria, City of Greater Geelong and Victorian Fisheries Authority. The purpose of the consultation was to understand how different organisations and groups used the river, their priorities and expectations for future use, any changes they would like to see made to the rules, and any other issues or concerns that could be addressed through the rule review.

The feedback collected through the consultation process helped identify which rules should be amended.