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New South Wales Basin projects given a new life

Following the successful passage of the Federal Government’s bill to rescue the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, New South Wales is getting straight to work to deliver important water saving projects.

Five projects across the Murray and Murrumbidgee will now receive an additional $115 million and more time to deliver critical water to support the rivers, wetlands and wildlife.

When completed, these projects, will directly contribute to the Basin Plan’s 605GL environmental water target and reduce the need for voluntary water purchase from Basin farmers in the Southern Murray-Darling Basin.

The Restoring our Rivers Bill provides more time, more options, more funding, and more accountability to deliver the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in full.

The newly boosted projects are:

  • Koondrook-Perricoota  - mitigating third-party impacts of water releases on landholders adjacent to the forest and creating breeding opportunities for thousands of native waterbirds and fish in the wetlands. It includes building critical levees, replacing regulators and removing constraints to improve flows.
  • Mid-Murray Anabranches Project - improving connectivity between the Murray and Edward Rivers, and other surrounding creeks. It includes constructing new bridges and rock crossings, upgrading access roads, as well as removing barriers to fish movement.
  • Lower Murray: Locks 8 and 9 project - restoring and enhancing the river habitat across the interconnected Frenchmans Creek and Carrs, Capitts and Bunberoo Creek systems. It includes installing new regulators and fishways, upgrading fish passages and changing the operating principles for weirs 8 and 9 to reinstate a more variable watering regime.
  • Murrumbidgee and Murray National Parks Project - improving the delivery of environmental water in the Yanga and Murray Valley (Millewa) National Parks. It includes building sills, upgrading regulators and removing earthen embankments including levees.
  • Yanco Creek Modernisation Project - modernising infrastructure to enable smarter use of water in the Yanco Creek system. It includes replacing water regulators and constructing and restoring fish passages.

The five projects update infrastructure, enable more targeted water delivery, boost aquatic and riparian habitats, provide improved fish passage, reinstate flows, generate local jobs, and provide better conditions for First Nations cultural activities.

The Federal Government also recently signed off on two more NSW Water Resource Plans, including one for the Murrumbidgee. This reaches an important milestone of now having more than half of its 20 plans in place.

Water Resource Plans are a critical component of the Basin Plan that provide assurance that states are managing their water consistent with the Basin Plan requirements.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for the Environment and Water, the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP:

“We said delivering the Murray-Darling Basin Plan was critical, and we’re getting on with it.

“Our Bill has given states like NSW more time and more options to deliver the water we need to keep the rivers flowing, including through infrastructure projects. This funding is available to other Basin governments who have signed on.

“We’re determined to work together to deliver a healthy and sustainable river system for the communities, farmers, First Nations groups and environment that rely on it.”

Quotes attributable to NSW Minister for Water Minister, the Hon Minister Rose Jackson MP:

“Today’s announcement is great news for the Murray and Murrumbidgee, because this additional $115 million will get our water saving projects moving in the right direction so we can meet our commitments under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

“I have been advocating strongly for more time and flexibility so we can get shovels in the ground to help deliver more water for the environment. This is good example of the work we are doing to prioritise other forms of water recovery beyond buybacks.

“These five infrastructure projects strike the right balance between water recovery for the environment and supporting resilient, productive and sustainable agriculture, industries and local communities.

“We have also been working collaboratively with the Federal Government to fix and resubmit our Water Resource Plans prioritising those that we know can be accredited. I am pleased we are now halfway there and are working hard to help ensure the next 9 plans get over the line.”

River reflections with trees on the bank
New South Wales Basin projects given a new life