Mineral waters have been sought by generations for their purity and health giving effect. The development of great public bathhouses in North Africa, Italy, France, Germany and Britain marked both the rise and fall of the Roman Empire
. The European settlers of the Central Highlands Region celebrated the discovery of mineral water as early as 1836 with an acceleration of interest and discovery during the hectic gold rush days when the streams beds of the region were excavated and sluiced.
The discovery of Clifton Springs is attributed to escaped convict William Buckley in 1804 but development of this site as a resort and bottling works (to replace inferior imports) had to wait until the 1870’s. Inappropriate land use such as the mining, burning of coastal limestone and discharge of untreated sewage at Clifton Springs saw the loss of Victoria’s earliest resort.
In the ‘Rush,’ gold mining at Hepburn Springs caused the springs to dry up on several occasions. Public outcry saw the mining stop and the springs return.
The current Victorian Mineral Water Committee (VMWC) was appointed by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change on 30 September 2008 for three years. The VMWC provides advice to the Minister on all matters related to the
management of Victoria's mineral water resources. This advice includes:
- The protection, management and utilisation of mineral water;
- The management of mineral springs and associated reserves;
- The development and management of mineral water therapy facilities; and
- The promotion of tourism associated with mineral water.
Advise the Minister for Environment and Climate Change on the disbursement of funds collected through the mineral water surcharge.
Administer the annual mineral water development program to ensure the effective protection, management and enhancement of mineral water facilities.
Liaise with Government departments and agencies, municipal councils and community groups for the development and implementation of appropriate policies, strategies and guidelines for the:
- identification and protection of mineral water resources
- control of commercial extraction of mineral water
- monitoring the quality and flow of mineral water.
Provide advice, guidance and technical support to mineral water extractors, mineral springs reserve managers and mineral water therapy providers. Be pro-active in the promotion of tourism in the mineral water region centred on Daylesford, especially tourist activities associated with mineral springs.
Advise the Minister for Environment and Climate Change on any land practices or activities that may be potentially threatening to the State’s mineral water resources, which have been referred to the VMWC.
The Committee has three key activity areas:
The Committee uses these strategic activities to reinforce its commitment to:
- Recognising the needs and aspirations of local communities and visitors to mineral springs
- Creating active and beneficial relationships with its stakeholders
- Effective communication
- Quality decision making.
Our stakeholders are the broad community of interest in the resource as a source of recreation, health giving, tourism, economic development and natural resource conservation.
The development of effective communication strategies will be vital to the future role of the Committee as it strives to satisfy all interests from its limited resource base. There are high expectations from key stakeholders. There will be an emphasis on constructive partnerships to have the Committee continue to be an effective voice for the future of Victoria’s mineral water resource.
The Committee continues to work towards identifying the needs of its stakeholders as a high priority.
For some stakeholders such as the extraction and bottling industry, we will need to create a relationship as the function of the VMWC is often not well known or understood.
Partnerships will be a focus of value adding as we discover our common interests and shared objectives.
There will be a commitment to build channels of communication and promote the common goals partnerships must have.
The Committee will review and update the Business Plan in July of each year and include progress on the implementation of the Business Plan and other achievements.
The Committee will also regularly monitors performance at a strategy level at its bi-monthly meetings, visits reserves and meets with stakeholders. The Business plan is fully reviewed every three years.
The Committee is appointed pursuant to Section 12 of the Conservation, Forests and Lands Act 1987 and the provisions relating to its membership and procedure are those outlined in Schedule 2. The Water Act 1989 and Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 contain sections of relevance to the activities of the Victorian Mineral Water Committee.
1. Mineral Water Resource Protection
Objective: to protect the integrity and sustainability of Victoira's mineral water asset by setting and implementing technical and cultural standard through research and investigation.
2. Mineral Water Development
Objective: to encourage and undertake capital works, projects and studies to support mineral water use and development.
3. Mineral Water Promotion
Objective: to ensure that Victorian Natural Mineral Water is appreciated as a resource that is unique, natural and pure and that, in the regions where it is produced, offers a healthy, high quality experience.
4. Committee Operation and Governance
Objective: to ensure that all aspects of the Victorian Mineral Water Committee's operations are appropriate and effective.
-> download the 2009-2012 Business Plan in pdf format.