The Midlands Water Scheme strategic assessment studied the impact of 2 new irrigation schemes in Tasmania. This strategic assessment protects nationally significant animals, plants, habitats and places in Tasmania from development. It also streamlines the approval process.
Strategic assessments are a collaboration between the Australian Government and an assessment partner. This collaboration allows for a big-picture approach to safeguarding protected matters from the impacts of development over a long time.
The Midlands Water Scheme (Tas) strategic assessment on this page is finalised. This means the Environment minister agreed to areas where development is allowed. The partner must now implement the environment activities and is restricted to agreed developments in the program.
The partner must also continue to report to the Australian Government until 31 December 2111 that the policy's requirements are being implemented.
Under its Water Development Strategy, the Tasmanian Government proposed 2 irrigation schemes. These schemes can provide 47,500 ML of water a year to the southern and northern Midlands regions of Tasmania.
View a map of the area covered by the Midlands Water Scheme.
The strategic assessment assessed the impact of the program on protected matters, including:
- Commonwealth Heritage places
- declared World Heritage properties
- declared Ramsar wetlands
- listed threatened species and listed ecological communities
- listed migratory species.
The strategic assessment covers:
- infrastructure construction
- water extraction and delivery
- farm property management systems.
The Tasmanian Department of Natural Resources and Environment has more information on the Midlands Water Scheme Strategic Assessment.
On 5 February 2010, the Australian and Tasmanian governments agreed to a strategic assessment.
The agreement was signed by the:
- Commonwealth Environment minister
- Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water.
Strategic assessment agreement with terms of reference (PDF 3.84 MB)
Strategic assessment agreement with terms of reference (RTF 529.62 KB)
Terms of reference
The terms of reference for a strategic assessment detail how the strategic assessment partner is to assess the impacts of their proposed development activities.
The strategic assessment agreement contains the terms of reference.
In September 2010, the Tasmanian Government released the draft strategic impact assessment report (PDF).
The public comment period on the draft strategic impact report ran from 30 September to 4 November 2010.
In December 2010, the Tasmanian Government released a new report addressing public comments.
Read the supplementary report (PDF).
In February 2011, the Tasmanian Government released the program report (PDF).
On 11 April 2011, the Commonwealth Environment minister endorsed the program. It was the second strategic assessment endorsed.
After endorsing the program, the minister can approve actions that meet program requirements.
Endorsement Notice for the Water Access Program for the Midlands Water Scheme (PDF 34.12 KB)
Endorsement Notice for the Water Access Program for the Midlands Water Scheme (RTF 53.42 KB)
Since then, the minister has approved 3 components of the scheme:
Approval for the Lower South Esk Scheme (PDF 131.54 KB) - 31 May 2011
Approval for the Lower South Esk Scheme (DOC 48.5 KB) - 31 May 2011
Approval for the Arthur's Pipeline Irrigation Scheme (PDF 134.33 KB) - 18 April 2012
Approval for the Arthur's Pipeline Irrigation Scheme (DOC 42.5 KB) - 18 April 2012
Approval for the Water Access System (PDF 422.12 KB) - 13 November 2012
Approval for the Water Access System (DOC 51.5 KB) - 13 November 2012
On 3 October 2012, the Australian Government approved 2 protocols.
- The Landscape Monitoring Protocol (PDF) sets out a monitoring, reporting, and adaptive management framework.
- The Quality Assurance Protocol (PDF) ensures the program's conservation commitments are implemented through on-farm planning. It also includes monitoring, auditing and reporting requirements.
The description of the approved class of actions defined Tasmanian Irrigation as the water entity for this strategic assessment. This defined water entity relates to:
- the Arthurs Pipeline approval
- the Lower South Esk approval.
The water entity provided both governments with a landscape-scale report after the first 3 years. It now reports every 5 years.
Every year, it also reports to both governments on irrigation administration and operation.
Approved consultants randomly audit 15% of farm water access plans each year.
Get in touch
Contact our Referrals Gateway team:
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 1800 423 135 between 9 am and 5 pm Canberra time.