The Australian Government is driving the delivery of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan by providing New South Wales with nearly $1.6 million in funding to speed up delivery of three projects on the Gwydir that will create local jobs and improve the health of the catchment.
Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt said the funding was part of the Commonwealth’s commitment to deliver environmental projects to improve environmental outcomes in the northern Basin.
“This investment is another step by the Coalition Government in getting on with delivering the $180 million Northern Basin Toolkit measures in partnership with the New South Wales and Queensland governments,” Minister Pitt said.
“The funding will support the New South Wales Government to develop three business cases that will investigate ways to address the physical impacts of river flows in the Gwydir catchment, including in the Gingham Watercourse, the Lower Gwydir Watercourse, and the Lower Mehi River.
“The Northern Basin Toolkit is all about finding ways to improve the health of our rivers without taking more water than is absolutely necessary from our farmers.”
New South Wales Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey welcomed the Australian Government support to undertake effective engagement and communication activities with stakeholders and to develop business cases.
“The Gwydir constraints projects are designed to make sure catchment rivers can run in a more natural pattern – and while that is good for the environment, our government recognises it can have real impacts on landholders,” Minister Pavey said.
“That’s why, in addition to standard business case development activities, this funding will help us prioritise significant community communication and engagement activities.
“Stakeholder engagement and communication is critical to the delivery and success of projects in the Basin.”
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said these projects will create opportunities for local communities, improve river management in the Gwydir and protect water for the environment.
“The benefits of a healthy river extend well beyond the riverbank, so the creation of environmental water corridors in the Gwydir catchment will not only improve outcomes for the environment, but will boost the economic, cultural and social wellbeing of our local communities,” Mr Coulton said.
The Northern Basin Toolkit includes a suite of genuine complementary measures to improve the health of the river systems in the northern Murray–Darling Basin. This supports keeping an additional 70 GL of water in productive use under the Murray–Darling Basin Plan in New South Wales and Queensland.
“The Australian Government will continue to work collaboratively with state colleagues to achieve a healthy northern Basin that supports a thriving agriculture sector, strong communities and healthy rivers,” Minister Pitt said.