Joint media release: Free-flowing Fish on the Lower Darling

23 February 2021

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, the Hon. Keith Pitt MP
Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, the Hon. Mark Coulton MP

The Coalition Government is providing $1.1 million for New South Wales to deliver fish passages that revitalise aquatic waterway health along the Lower Darling River.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt recognised the importance of free fish movement and connectivity for healthy native fish populations and freshwater environments.

“We know that as a sign of healthier river systems native fish species will more readily reproduce and survive different stages of their life-cycle when they have greater ability to move freely to a variety of aquatic environments,” Minister Pitt said.

“The mighty Murray cod and golden perch may have to migrate over 1000 kilometres during their lifespan. 

“We are committed to helping them thrive on their way by partnering with our counterparts in New South Wales to deliver really practical projects to expand river connectivity for fish populations, benefitting local communities and the natural environment for years to come.”

The Lower Darling Fish Passage Program incorporates key findings from the Independent Assessment of the 2018-19 fish deaths in the Lower Darling and includes funding to refurbish critical fishways infrastructure at Weir 32, Pooncarie weir and Burtundy weir.

The program is part of the Australian Government’s response to the 2018-19 fish deaths which included funding for research, fish hatcheries, fencing of riverbanks and for metering and river monitoring.

Federal Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton welcomed the funding, signalling that a comprehensive community consultation and stakeholder engagement process would be undertaken over the coming months.

“This is a great example of an environmental program that has the capacity to bring the whole community together for the benefit of our under-water friends,” Mr Coulton said. 

“We will be actively engaging with Indigenous groups, local landholders and recreational fishing groups to ensure the upgrades are inclusive and effective.”