Media Releases


May 07, 2019

A Shorten Labor Government will clean up and naturalise the River Torrens with a $2 million commitment. Today, Labor announced that the River Torrens will be a priority project under the Urban Rivers and Corridors Program.
This election will be a choice between a Shorten Labor Government which will invest in our natural environment, or more of the Liberals’ cuts and chaos.
Shadow Minister for the Environment Tony Burke said Labor had committed  $200 million to bring urban waterways and habitat corridors back to health.
“Through the Urban Rivers and Corridors Program, a Shorten Labor Government will restore urban rivers across the country to their natural beauty,” Mr Burke said.
“Labor’s investment will unlock grant funding for projects to clean up our rivers including revegetation, tree planting, waste capture and naturalisation projects.”
Labor candidate for Hindmarsh Mark Butler welcomed the commitment, “For too long, our rivers, creeks and wetlands have been treated like storm water drains; ending up polluted, dirty and littered with shopping trolleys rather than being safe spaces for families, kids and school groups to visit,” Mr Butler said.
“A Shorten Labor Government will engage state and local governments, local councils, community groups and local environmental organisations to bring urban waterways and habitat corridors back to health.
“The Torrens is a vital waterway for metropolitan Adelaide, and its health has consequences not only for the river, but also our coast line. A healthy river will help prevent further erosion and promote seagrass rejuvenation.”
“This election is a choice between Labor’s plan for a healthier environment in our cities and across Australia or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals.”
Labor’s national $200 million investment will unlock grant funding for projects to clean up our rivers, including:

  • Improving wetlands to capture and clean and filter stormwater.
  • Revegetation and tree planting along corridors.
  • Citizen science and education programs along rivers and corridors.
  • Bird boxes and waste capture.
  • Turning urban waterways back into creeks and rivers.
  • Utilising natural processes to improve animal habitats.

The Torrens River, Karra Wirraparri, runs from the Mount Lofty Ranges in Adelaide’s east, down to the western coast at Henley Beach South, and is the main river in Adelaide’s metropolitan area. The Torrens is a vibrant part of Adelaide’s beautiful scenery; providing walking trails, bike riding paths, parks, and avenue for water recreation including fishing, kayaking and paddle boating. The Torrens plays a vital role in stormwater catchment, and it has a run on effect to sea grass, beach and coastal dune erosion; which is a great concern for the communities of Adelaide’s western coast. The Urban Rivers program will go towards the continued Torrens River Recovery, doing vital work revitalising the river through wetland reconstruction, revegetation, removal of pollutants and weeds, and rejuvenation initiatives.
“Labor’s commitment to cleaning up urban rivers is part of a broader strategy to restore our oceans to health, including restoring Australia’s marine parks and tackling waste and plastics,” Mr Burke said.
“Labor has committed to undoing the massive cuts to Australia’s Marine Parks. Our environment is buckling from the pressure of climate change, pollution, waste and destruction of natural areas.
“The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government have consistently failed to provide federal environment programs that adequately address the urgent need for urban river rehabilitation.
“Only Labor is serious about protecting the environment and making sure it’s there for future generations to enjoy – action on climate change, investing in the environment, and maintaining Australia’s status as the ‘great outdoors’.”
These policies and projects will form part of a comprehensive platform for a healthier environment in our cities and across Australia.