Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment

Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment

New water sale opportunities in the southern New South Wales Murray-Darling Basin

Media release
8 April 2014

The Australian Government has today announced that a new water purchase round will open in the New South Wales Murray and Lower Darling catchments on 9 April 2014.

"The water purchase round will be open until 5pm AEST on 28 April 2014 for interested water entitlement holders to make an offer", said Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment.

"The Abbott Government is committed to restoring the Murray-Darling Basin to health, while ensuring the viability of its food producing communities," Senator Birmingham said.

"Our Government will work towards implementing the Basin Plan in line with our commitment to a 1500 gigalitre cap on buybacks.

"The main focus for our water recovery activities is now on infrastructure and efficiency projects, which deliver a win-win for industry, communities and the environment.

"We have committed significant funds to progressing infrastructure upgrades that help 'bridge the gap' to the Basin Plan, such as expanding to $158 million in the latest round of the on-farm irrigation efficiency program and signing an agreement to progress possible water saving projects at Menindee Lakes.

"We are also working with states to implement the adjustment mechanism to its full extent.

"For southern New South Wales current recoveries, plus those expected from infrastructure investments and supply measures offsets, still leaves an expected gap to be bridged.

"Unlike Labor's open slather approach, we will undertake the required residual water recovery through small, orderly, targeted and appropriate approaches to the market.

"In this small tender round up to $10 million is available for purchases, with the tender only open to holders of water entitlements in the NSW Murray and Lower Darling catchments.

"Over the next few years we anticipate undertaking a limited number of small tenders, in line with this purchase, to ensure that the small amount of buyback undertaken is not disruptive to the market or irrigation communities,"

Further information including program guidelines and application forms are available from the Department's website at www.environment.gov.au/waterpurchasing or by calling the Water Information Line on 1800 218 478.

Simon Birmingham

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