Outcomes of the Dandenong Creek community panel

We're really excited to be sharing with you the outcomes of the Dandenong Creek community panel.

The two-day forum proved once again how important it is to work alongside community when deciding on how to better protect and care for our creeks and waterways.

Watch this short video about the event, read the report or scroll down the page to find out more about the panel, what panel members had to say, and why community involvement is so important to Melbourne Water.

Why hold a community panel in the first place?

The five-year pilot of the Enhancing our Dandenong Creek (EODC) project is coming to a close. We’ve made some significant achievements in this time. We’ve daylighted segments of the creek, revitalised billabongs, secured habitats for threatened fish species, installed interpretive signage and other amenities, and continue to monitor pollution and spills into the creek.

Vital to these improvements has been the community's willingness to share their ideas and knowledge with us. After all, this creek is in your backyard. Who else better to ask than the people who know and love this environment so well?

To ensure the success of the next, five-year phase of the EODC project, we are continuing to involve you in our efforts to revitalise the creek.

The Dandenong Creek community panel is an important first step in shaping this next, five-year phase.

Melbourne Water met with panel members over two days in July. The twenty-four participants who made up the panel were selected from a broad, cross-section of the community and there were several reasons for our meeting:

  • To inform the community about the overall Enhancing our Dandenong Creek project
  • To build on existing community knowledge and understanding of the environmental, social and economic issues specific to the Ringwood South Branch Sewer
  • To seek community input and ideas on what they saw as priority areas for the creek
  • To invite the community to help shape the next five-year phase of the project.

Specialists were on hand to answer questions about the creek and provide detailed information on topics such as sewerage systems, aquatic biodiversity, pollution, and vegetation. The works done to date since the project began in 2013 were also explained in detail.

To begin the forum, we first asked panel members a question:

"To what extent do you support Melbourne Water deferring sewer upgrades until 2030 and instead focusing on environmental and amenity improvements?"

What the panel told us

Over the two days, as panel members received more information and had their questions answered, their response to this question changed significantly:

graph showing community support for the project

By the end of the two days, following lively conversation and informative debate, the panel overall supported environmental and amenity improvements in preference to the expensive upgrades to the low-risk sewer.

Panel members also shared their concerns about existing issues and then prioritised areas that they felt would benefit the creek and the community.

chart showing priority areas for the creek
silhouette graphic of a person

"I’m impressed that Melbourne Water is interested in community opinion and stakeholders that may or may
not have expertise on these issues."

Silhouette of a face

“I feel far more informed about
how the creek functions, how pollution occurs, what the issues are
and what the role of
Melbourne Water is.”

“I love that the panel members were
all so passionate about the significance
of our creek.”

graphic silhouette of a face

"The whole process was very informative both in terms of the sewerage issue and the alternative opportunities to
enhance the creek."

Next steps

We are taking all these suggestions on board and in the coming months will review them in detail.

The Dandenong Creek community panel is playing an important and valued role in shaping the next round of works to revitalise the creek. If you're keen to be involved in this next phase of the project, we'd love to hear from you.

Join the conversation below or read the shared ideas for revitalising Dandenong Creek using our interactive map.

A big thank you to all participants!

Your commitment to the process and willingness to share your passion and knowledge of the creek and its surrounding environment reflects just how valued Dandenong Creek is to the wider community.

people meeting