The Australian Government is working with the NSW and Queensland governments to implement environmental works and measures identified in the Northern Basin Review, collectively known as the ‘Northern Basin Toolkit.’
Northern Basin Toolkit measures
The 6 Northern Basin Toolkit measures include:
- arrangements to protect environmental flows
- targeted recovery of water
- event-based mechanisms (such as options for pumping and store-and-release)
- improvements to the coordination and delivery of environmental water
- environmental works and measures to promote fish movement and habitat (such as building fishways)
- removal of physical constraints in the Gwydir catchment to improve flows to the wetlands.
Each of these Toolkit measures will be implemented via a range of targeted projects and activities.
Northern Basin Toolkit projects
The Australian Government is providing up to $180 million to 2024 for the implementation of Northern Basin Toolkit environmental works and measures projects.
10 Toolkit projects have now been approved, either for immediate implementation or progression to the business case development phase.
These projects are designed to complement environmental outcomes in the northern Basin. They also support an additional 70 GL of water being kept in productive use in the northern Basin and provide a much-needed economic stimulus to communities in the region.
The approved projects
10 Toolkit projects in NSW and Queensland are:
- NSW Fish for the Future: Reconnecting the Northern Basin project
- NSW Scoping Initiative: Macquarie Marshes enhanced watering project
- NSW Fish for the Future: Fish-friendly Water Extraction project
- Queensland Fish-friendly Water Extraction: Condamine-Balonne and Border Rivers project
- Gwydir - Gingham Watercourse project
- Gwydir - Lower Gwydir Watercourse project
- Gwydir - Lower Mehi River project
- Enhance the Flexibility and Capability for Distributing and Managing Low Flows through the Lower Balonne River System Bifurcation Weirs project
- Queensland Reconnecting Catchments: Condamine-Balonne project (Jack Taylor and Beardmore dams)
- Queensland Improving Within-Catchment Fish Resilience – Lower Balonne project (Culgoa)
Potential Toolkit projects were assessed by an independent expert panel to determine which would have the best ecological benefits. The panel’s findings are now available below.
|Northern Basin Toolkit Ecological Prioritisation of Proposed Project Report PDF||88||3.2 MB|
The report has not been prepared by the department and may not meet Australian Government accessibility guidelines. If you require an accessible version of the report, please contact the author.
Accelerated gateway model projects
As part of this commitment, the Government has made over $90 million available to NSW and Queensland to accelerate the implementation and further development of these projects.
Some approved projects are expected to begin on-ground delivery this year and are designed to employ local and indigenous people, source local goods and improve environmental outcomes in the northern Basin.
4 of the 10 approved projects will follow an accelerated gateway model to ensure the benefits are rapidly reaching these communities. They are:
1. NSW Fish for the Future: Reconnecting the Northern Basin
Installation of fishways to improve native fish access to aquatic habitat in the Barwon-Darling river system and Border Rivers region of NSW and Queensland. The project aims to provide improved river connectivity between the northern basin tributaries and also with Southern Basin.
2. NSW Scoping Initiative: Macquarie Marshes enhanced watering project
Construction of several structures on and adjacent to the Macquarie River to improve the delivery of environmental water into the Macquarie Marshes.
3. NSW Fish for the Future: Fish-friendly Water Extraction project
Screening the intakes of small to large water extraction pumps to reduce fish entrainment in diverted flow from the Barwon-Darling and Mehi Rivers. The project aims to protect juvenile native fish.
4. Queensland Fish-friendly Water Extraction: Condamine-Balonne and Border Rivers project
Screening the intakes of small to large water extraction pumps to reduce fish entrainment in diverted flow in the Condamine-Balonne and Border Rivers regions. The project aims to protect juvenile native fish.
For more information on the approved Toolkit projects, visit Northern Basin Projects on MDBA’s website.