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Source: Australian Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources

28 September 2019

  • Extension approved for NSW’s Healthy Floodplains Project
  • Total Federal Government investment in the project now $56.91 million
  • Extension give farmers and irrigators more time to give feedback

New South Wales will have another 18 months to get its Floodplain Harvesting Policy up and running, after an agreement with the Federal Government.

Minister for Water Resources David Littleproud said New South Wales had written to him requesting the extension.

New South Wales will now have until 30 June 2021 to have their policy in place.

“The Federal Government will invest up to $7.9 million more in the NSW scheme to make sure the settings are right,” Minister Littleproud said.

“This brings the Federal Government’s total contribution to the project to $56.91 million.

“This will give farmers greater transparency through broader consultation on NSW’s Healthy Floodplains Project.

“Harvesting floodwaters during the wet is essential to viable and productive farming—this project is a vital piece of work.”

NSW Minister for Water Melinda Pavey said an independent peer review found the project was on the right track—but that local communities needed to understand the modelling, the benefits to farmers and the rationale for delivering water back to the river.

“In practice, this means that extensive additional consultation is required, as well as revision of models and documentation,” Minister Pavey said.

“Work to date by NSW was based on the best available information to model the use of floodwaters at various points in time and under a broad range of conditions.

“That will give landholders more input into the development of the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy. 

“And it will improve the underlying models applied to harvesting, delivering better outcomes to local communities and the river.”
   
Additional Commonwealth funding is subject to the New South Wales Government completing its Water Resource Plans by the end of December 2019.

Fast Facts:

  • Floodplain harvesting can only occur during very wet periods. As a result of the current drought no significant floodplain harvesting in the NSW Northern Basin has occurred since 2016 ‒ more than 2 years ago
  • The independent peer review was commissioned by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment and the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA).
  • The Independent Peer Review examined the Floodplain Harvesting Policy to ensure that its implementation is technically robust, legally consistent and based upon the best available science and information
  • The Independent Peer Review looked at the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy and its implementation, without fear or favour, looking to see if we could make it better
  • The independent peer review on the implementation of the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy found that:
    • NSW is on the right track towards implementing the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy, which will licence the capture of water from floodplains
    • The review’s findings verify progress to date and validate the significant investment made by the NSW and Commonwealth Government in science and modelling to more accurately quantify the size and scale of floodplain harvesting in the NSW Northern Basin;
    • The key recommendations cover areas such as;
      • More transparency in the process;
      • Improved stakeholder engagement;
      • Better floodplain modelling, and
      • Improved planning and management of the Policy.
  • NSW is making those changes, as the peer review recommended, and NSW has developed and published a detailed action plan.
  • NSW had been talking with people about the review and the action plan over the last two weeks in Narrabri, Dubbo, Deniliquin, Dareton and Sydney.

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