The National Irrigators Council (NIC) acknowledges the proposal released by the New South Wales Government over the weekend on rescoping the Menindee and Yanco projects.

NIC Chief Executive Officer Isaac Jeffrey said: “The NSW Government has announced its proposal to change the Menindee and Yanco Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment mechanism (SDLAM) projects which form part of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

“The Better Bidgee and Better Baaka programs contain a number of projects with a mix of infrastructure investments to improve fish passages, better supply town water and increase reliable waterways’ flows. While NIC looks forward to seeing further detail in coming weeks, we are pleased to see the Government investing in complementary measures.

“NIC has long advocated for a suite of complementary measures to improve our waterways and river systems, including fish passageways; feral pest and fish management; improved management of creeks and floodplains; implementing erosion mitigation and biodiversity measures; revegetation along waterways; improving native fish habitat and breeding sites; and restocking river systems with native fish.

“In making the announcement, Minister Pavey has reminded all stakeholders along the river of the importance of water outcomes which deliver the triple bottom line of the plan, that is, water for the environment, communities and the economy.

“The Minister has encouraged communities and other stakeholders to have their say on the Better Bidgee and Better Baaka programs. I join the Minister in asking all interested stakeholders to consider attending the webinars and providing feedback.

“Irrigators grow the vast majority of our nation’s fruit, vegetables, rice, nuts and grapes, and more than half of our dairy and sugarcane. With a direct economic contribution of over $17 billion per annum, irrigated agriculture is delivering jobs and for our local and national economies.

“Through the development of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, irrigation communities gave up significant volumes of water. Irrigators have invested in best-practice technologies and systems, world-leading research and development, and new farming methods, which mean the sector is producing more with less.

“Our irrigated agriculture sector is a world leader in water management and productive capacity, under very stringent regulations, and produce the best food and fibre among our global competitors.

“Irrigators are not the only stakeholders with a role to play in making the Basin Plan work. Governments signed up to deliver a range of projects, including their SDLAM projects. The last progress report showed sixteen projects as on track, fourteen as having made some progress and six projects were at significant risk.

“As we rapidly approach 2024, it is imperative that Basin Governments deliver their part of the plan and get these projects done. We’ve done our bit, now it’s time for governments to step up and do theirs.”

Ends. Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey 0407 083 890