The NSW Irrigated Farm Modernisation project delivered water for the environment by upgrading irrigation infrastructure and promoting better water management practices. Under the program:
- $93 million invested by the Australian Government, including start-up and pilot funding
- 9 funding rounds between 2012 and 2017
- 111 approved on-farm projects
- delivered water savings of almost 33.9GL, with around 23.3GL of water savings transferred to the Australian Government for environmental use.
The project was funded by the Australian Government under the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program. It was delivered by New South Wales as a state priority project agreed to by the Australian and New South Wales governments at the July 2008 Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting.
The list of approved projects is available on data.gov.au.
This project is now complete. The final project report will be available shortly.
How the project returns water to the environment
Irrigators holding tradeable surface water allocations in New South Wales Murray-Darling Basin catchments applied for funding to improve the efficiency of their on-farm irrigation infrastructure.
In return for the Australian Government’s investment in the projects, approved applicants transferred at least half of the project water savings to the Australian Government for environmental priorities.
Independent assurance review
In 2018 the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, in collaboration with the New South Wales Department of Industry (Agriculture), commissioned an independent assurance review by KPMG of the NSW Irrigated Farm Modernisation project.
The objective of the review was to examine the governance, risk and control processes of the NSW Irrigated Farm Modernisation project to ensure the effective use of Commonwealth funds.
KPMG selected a random sample of 28 projects (25 percent of all projects) from the NSW Irrigated Farm Modernisation project for a desktop review. Within this sample KPMG selected 12 projects for on-farm verification.
The sample covered projects ranging in total cost from $140,000 to over $5 million, across nine funding rounds and a variety of catchment areas.
Overall, KPMG’s assessment of the NSW Irrigated Farm Modernisation project found:
- New South Wales Department of Industry (Agriculture) have developed and implemented a number of controls, processes and structures to assist in the effective administration of the NSW Irrigated Farm Modernisation project.
- no instances of non-compliance with key provisions of the Water Management Partnership Agreement
The review report and the then Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ response are available below.
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