The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water today announced $32.2 million in funding to deliver 3 environmental projects in the Gwydir to improve river and wetland health.
New South Wales will use the funds to start work on 78 on-ground measures to construct, modify and in some cases remove physical constraints to improve delivery and outcomes from environmental water use in the Gwydir valley.
Non-physical measures like purchasing easement rights, conservation works, and land purchases can also receive funding.
This is part of the $180 million Northern Basin Toolkit whereby the Australian Government partners with both the New South Wales and Queensland governments to improve environmental outcomes.
These projects have strong support from the community and local stakeholders, including the local Gomeroi Aboriginal community and local landholders.
These are important actions to support Commonwealth efforts and investment in environmental watering in the Gwydir catchment and across the northern Murray–Darling Basin.
Quotes attributable to Head of Division (Water), Rachel Connell:
“The Reconnecting Watercourse Country project will help provide water flows at times and volumes needed for environmental outcomes. This will promote river, watercourse and wetland health through improvements to the Gingham Watercourse, Lower Gwydir Watercourse, and Lower Mehi River.
“These improvements will provide a boost to the health of the Gwydir and surrounding ecosystems by helping to sustain native fish populations, improve waterbird habitats, support waterbird breeding events, and maintain the viability of riparian and wetland vegetation, including Ramsar sites, through improved water delivery.
“The 3 projects underwent extensive stakeholder engagement with the NSW Government hearing from 230 people in 2021 – with 104 watercourse landholders; 48 Traditional Owners from the Gomeroi - Kamilaroi community; and 76 other stakeholders providing overwhelmingly positive feedback.
“Continuing engagement and involvement will play a critical role in the success of the proposal. New South Wales will continue to make sure stakeholders are consulted and involved in the projects to ensure a fair, equitable and transparent process is adopted to deliver the 3 projects.”
Quotes attributable to Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, Mr Hilton Taylor:
"The Gwydir wetlands include internationally significant Ramsar sites and are also culturally important for the Gomeroi/Kamilaroi First Nations people.
"We work with communities, First Nations and state governments to sustain the Gwydir wetlands in both wet and the dry times, so they have the best chance of surviving droughts and bouncing back when conditions improve.
"We are excited these projects will provide much greater flexibility for environmental water managers to deliver water where and when it is needed. The projects will help achieve better outcomes for birds, fish and native plants."
For more information on the Northern Basin Toolkit, visit: Northern Basin Toolkit - DCCEEW.