Heritage listing could save river

City of Bayswater Mayor Terry Kenyon is concerned about future management of the Swan River. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d408916
City of Bayswater Mayor Terry Kenyon is concerned about future management of the Swan River. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d408916

Last month, Environment Minister Albert Jacob announced that the Swan River Trust would be subsumed by the newly formed Department of Parks and Wildlife, which manages Western Australia’s 27 million hectares of parks and reserves.

Cr Kenyon said the decision was disheartening because the Swan River Trust was a ‘vital part of the City and a bloodline for the Swan River ” what they’re going to do is cut off an artery and say ‘we’re not going to have a Swan River Trust’ anymore’.

Established in 1989, the Swan River Trust was a State Government agency working with local government, community, industry and other state government agencies to protect the Swan Canning river system, focussing on maintaining and improving the environmental health of the river.

‘The Swan River Trust has been doing a reasonable job but their hands are tied too because they only have limited funding from the State Government,’ Cr Kenyon said.

‘Local government’s going to be left to fund and do what the Swan River Trust does and that’s impossible to do to our ratepayers.

‘Local government should really apply to Federal Government to have the Swan River listed as heritage because that’s the only way we are going to get money to fix the river.

‘The only way I can see we can get funding is to have it listed as heritage, to make sure it is protected like The Great Barrier Reef.’

Cr Kenyon said he put the heritage listing idea to local governments that abut the Swan River earlier this year, but nothing came from it.

‘The river is a vital part of the City, it’s an integral part and no one’s doing anything about it,’ he said.

Cr Kenyon said before the announcement he was considering applying for a position on the Swan River Trust board but with the ‘government amalgamations going ahead or not going ahead, I’m not sure anymore because everything keeps changing’.