The Australian Government is providing $80 million in funding for environmental works to support the health of rivers in the northern Basin, including the installation of diversion screens on pumps and pipes at water extraction sites.

Minister for Resources and Water, Keith Pitt, said the Australian Government was working with the New South Wales and Queensland Governments to implement environmental works and measures identified in the Northern Basin Review, collectively known as the Northern Basin Toolkit.

“This is about getting on with delivering the Australian Government’s $180 million Toolkit measures by 2024 in partnership with the New South Wales and Queensland Governments,” Mr Pitt said. 

“We are creating jobs and economic activity in our rural and regional towns by funding a raft of environmental works and measures that promote environmental health, including for native fish.

“This funding will pay to build fishways to improve fish movement along more than 2,000km of northern Basin rivers, manufacture and installation of diversion screens on pumps and pipes at water extraction sites, and construct structures to support the health of the Macquarie Marshes.

“The projects will contribute towards improving the ecological health of the northern Basin by improving river and wetland management, protecting native fish, and delivering water for the environment. 

“The three Northern Basin Toolkit projects will be delivered by a staged approach to get results on the ground as quickly as possible.”

The three projects are:

  • Fish for the Future; Reconnecting the Northern Basin Project 
  • Macquarie Marshes Enhanced Watering Project
  • Fish for the Future; Fish-friendly Water Extraction Project – Barwon-Darling and Gwydir Rivers

New South Wales Minister for Lands and Water, Kevin Anderson, welcomed the $80 million in funding for these NSW Toolkit projects.

“New South Wales has been working on approved project activities in good faith, including stakeholder engagement, procurement of manufacturers and engagement of technical specialists to get these projects up and running,” Mr Anderson said. 

“This staged approach will expedite Toolkit funding reaching northern Basin communities and rivers.

“Toolkit measures will create opportunities for local communities, improve river management and environmental outcomes across the northern Basin.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said communities in the Barwon–Darling and Gwydir catchments will benefit from manufacturing and installing more than 150 modern pump screens along 1,350km of waterways to protect native fish from water extraction.

“The project involves collaboration of government, water users, irrigation engineers, local screen manufacturers and anglers to design, manufacture and install modern diversion screens at priority sites, which will improve fish stocks in our rivers and increase tourism and low impact recreation opportunities,” Mr Joyce said. 

Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, expects a boost for tourism through the Macquarie Marshes Toolkit measure.

“Construction works for the Macquarie Marshes wetlands will improve the delivery of environmental flows to native plants and animals, which is a win for the environment and for local tourism,” Mr Coulton said.

For more information visit the Northern Basin Toolkit page on the DAWE website or the Northern Basin Projects page on MDBA’s website.

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