National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) has welcomed the Australian Government’s
announcement of a suite of environmental projects as part of the Northern Basin Toolkit
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt has announced $90 million (of
the $180 million) for ten environmental projects in Queensland and New South Wales which
will provide benefit through measures to deliver environmental outcomes for waterways,
wetlands and marshes, and will also support the right environment for native fish to breed
NIC Chief Executive Isaac Jeffrey said: “These are critically important projects which deliver
measures such as installation of fishways to improve native fish access to aquatic habitat in
the Barwon-Darling river system and Border Rivers region of New South Wales and
“While we certainly welcome this announcement, it has been a long time coming. NIC has
been calling for this funding to be rolled out and we renew those calls today to get the other
$90 million of projects announced and all projects underway as fast as possible.
“Farmers are expected to make investment decisions and comply with new rules in relatively
short timeframes, and they do so in good faith. What is needed is the Federal and State
Governments to put aside their differences, get around a table and commit to projects
which help our economy, environment and communities by investing in our river system.
“NIC has long advocated the need to undertake complementary measures across the Basin
to enable much greater environmental outcomes from the water recovered. You cannot
just add more water. These measures include natural resource planning and management
directed specifically at improving the health of riparian zones, waterways and waterbird
habitat and sustaining ecosystems which prioritise native species populations.
“We are disappointed that some of this work has been stalled, including little action to date
on removing carp from our waterways.
“Following NIC’s advocacy, the Productivity Commission and Sefton reviews provided strong
recommendations relating to complementary waterways management to achieve
improved environmental outcomes while reducing the collateral damage to regional
“Evidence from the Northern Basin review conducted in 2016 clearly showed that the loss of
between 25-30 percent of water had significant negative impacts across the North, while
the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s own analysis reflected at the time, up to 35 percent of
agricultural jobs had already been lost in some communities.
“Agriculture is the lifeblood of regional communities. It provides high-quality Australian
produce which is feeding and clothing Australians and our neighbours and friends around
the world – and it does so within a system of unparalleled standards and regulations.
“Farmers are already doing their bit. Now is the time for governments at all levels to step up,
approve their water projects and get on with it.
“Australian irrigators will continue to be strong advocates for their industries, for the
environment and for the communities which they support.”
Isaac Jeffrey – 0407 083 890 – email@example.com