The Coalition Government has approved 10 environmental projects for funding through the Northern Basin Toolkit that will create jobs in Basin communities and improve the health of northern rivers.
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said funding is being made available immediately.
“Around $90 million of the $180 million Toolkit package will support New South Wales and Queensland to fast-track the delivery of four projects to ensure communities see the benefits sooner,” Minister Pitt said.
“It is critical that we accelerate the delivery of Toolkit projects.
“Delivery of the projects should commence this year and provide much-needed economic stimulus to regional communities and improve environmental outcomes in the northern Basin.”
Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton said six of the projects will benefit basin communities in the Parkes electorate.
“The Coalition Government will provide a whopping $57.20 million for the Reconnecting the Northern Basin project, as part of the NSW Fish for the Future initiative,” Mr Coulton said.
“This will involve the installation of fishways in the Barwon-Darling river system and in the Border Rivers region to improve native fish access to 2,135 kilometres of aquatic habitat, connecting the Southern and Northern Basin and into Queensland.
“A further $20.75 million will be put towards the Fish-friendly Water Extraction project to protect juvenile native fish. This will involve screening the intakes of small to large water extraction pumps to reduce fish entrainment in diverted flow from the Barwon-Darling and Mehi Rivers.
“Additionally, $2.89 million will be provided for the construction of several structures on and adjacent to the Macquarie River to improve the delivery of environmental water into the Macquarie Marshes.
“The Northern Basin Toolkit will also provide funding for business case development projects in the west of the Gwydir Valley, with $620,000 to clear barriers in rivers, floodplains and wetlands in the Gingham Watercourse and $410,000 for the Lower Mehi River.
“These Toolkit measures, along with other activities in the northern Basin, will create opportunities for our local communities, improve river management across the northern Basin and protect water for the environment.”
Minister Pitt said it’s about getting on with delivering the Coalition Government’s $180 million Toolkit measures as soon as possible.
“I took advice from an independent scientific panel that assessed a range of possible Toolkit projects to determine which would have the best ecological benefits,” Minister Pitt said.
The Northern Basin Toolkit is a suite of environmental works and measures, each with a number of targeted projects and activities.
The Toolkit is designed to provide genuine complementary measures to improve the health of northern rivers. This supports keeping an additional 70 GL of water in productive use under the Murray–Darling Basin Plan in New South Wales and Queensland.