National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) has welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement of $6.6
million to Queensland to ensure native fish species in Northern Basin Murray Darling Rivers have the
greatest opportunity to breed and to thrive.

The project is one of the ten Northern Basin Toolkit package of projects that is keeping 70GL of water in
productive use in the north while designed to deliver practical environmental outcomes across the
Border Rivers, Condamine and Balonne catchments.

The aim of the program is to enable farmers to trial pump screens at river off-takes to help determine
whether screens will help to protect native fish population in an effective and cost-effective manner.

NIC Chief Executive Officer Isaac Jeffrey said: “We recognise the very genuine public interest in native
fish entrainment and welcome this funding as an important project to contribute to the knowledge around
fish entrainment and ways to better protect native fish.

“It is hoped the research around the project will enable greater understanding of the extent of the
problem and/or the best approach to addressing it. As part of the Northern Basin Toolkit program, we
are seeing action on these types of measures aimed at supporting native fish which represent a shift
away from flow targets or the ‘just add water’ approach.

“NIC has advocated over many years for the adoption and implementation of complementary measures
across the Basin, providing a pathway for genuine environmental gains without imposing additional
collateral damage on regional communities. Natural resource planning, research and management is
critical to improve the health of riparian zones, waterways and waterbird habitat and to sustain
ecosystems that prioritise native species populations.

“Other similar measures might include management of cold-water pollution to support fish breeding;
improvement of fish migration through fish-ways; restoration of native fish habitat to provide the right
environment for native fish to flourish; and feral animal and weed control in wetlands and riparian areas.

“Disappointingly to date there has been little action on removing carp from our waterways.

“The Productivity Commission and Sefton reviews provided strong recommendations relating to
complementary waterways management to achieve improved environmental outcomes.

“Agriculture is the lifeblood of regional communities, providing high-quality Australian produce which is
feeding and clothing Australians and world populations – and this occurs within a system of unparalleled
standards and regulations.

“Australian irrigators will continue to advocate for their industries, their communities and for a shift in
focus on practical environmental outcomes.”

Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey 0407 083 890