An initial $661,000 investment by the Federal Government will help protect native fish populations in Queensland, as well as reduce pump downtime and maintenance costs, by encouraging landowners to install pump screens.
The program is expected to have flow-on benefits for communities along the rivers of the northern Murray–Darling Basin.
Queensland Minister for Resources and Water, Keith Pitt, said the $6.6 million Fish Friendly Water Extraction Project is moving at pace with two landholders already signing up for funding to install pump screens since the project commenced December 2021.
“Landholders are signing up because of benefits they’ll receive in reduced pump downtime and maintenance costs, alongside the creation of local jobs from the installation of pump screens,” Mr Pitt said.
“These landholder benefits are on top of the millions more native fish that will be kept in northern rivers which improves healthy river outcomes while being great for recreational fishers – it’s a win-win-win-win.”
Federal Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia and Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud, said the project would provide valuable economic stimulus to communities in the region.
“The project is part of delivering the Northern Basin Toolkit, a $180 million investment to improve the health of the northern Basin through non-flow measures,” Mr Littleproud said.
“We are creating jobs and economic activity in communities along the rivers of the northern Murray–Darling Basin by funding a raft of environmental works and measures that promote environmental health, including for native fish.
“I encourage irrigators to get involved by contacting Southern Queensland Landscapes and adopt the use of these low-tech, common-sense fish protection measures.”
Queensland Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher, said Queensland was implementing the project in partnership with communities.
“It’s great to see the farmers, local government, First Nations people, recreational fishers and other relevant community groups are really getting behind this project,” Mr Butcher said.
“Our delivery partner, Southern Queensland Landscapes, has completed two pump screen concept designs, engaged with the community and is ready to move to the next step.
“The proposed benefits are already translating into real world outcomes. Installing these fish screens will improve the health of our rivers and wetlands and the animals and plants that rely on them. Farmers, communities, the environment and our native fish all benefit from this work.”
For more information on the Australian Government’s Fish Friendly Water Extraction project, visit https://www.sqlandscapes.org.au/native-fish-friendly-water-extraction.