Response to Lateline program of 31 August

1 September 2017

Last night’s episode of Lateline implied that the Australian Government’s Murray–Darling Basin infrastructure efficiency programs had provided funding for works that allegedly contributed to flood-waters or overland flows being captured for use in irrigation.

This is not the case.

The roads and levees depicted in the programme were not works or structures that were approved for funding under the Australian Government’s Healthy HeadWaters Water Use Efficiency (HHWUE) program.

The Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines has advised that the roads and levees concerned were completed long in advance of the introduction of the HHWUE program as well as the Murray-Darling Basin Plan itself.

The Department takes any issues of compliance relating to its programs very seriously.

The HHWUE program provides funding to irrigators for more modern and efficient water infrastructure, which allows them to farm using less water—for example by saving water that would otherwise be lost through seepage or evaporation.  These are genuine water savings, a portion of which are transferred to the Commonwealth for environmental uses.