Strategic assessment of the Water Access Program for the Midlands Water Scheme, Tasmania

Why is a strategic assessment being done?

The Australian and Tasmanian Governments agree that the areas within and surrounding the Midlands Water Scheme have significant environmental values. The strategic assessment will assess the impacts of the Tasmanian Government's Water Access Program for the Midlands Water Scheme (the Program) on the following nationally protected matters:

  • world heritage properties
  • national heritage places
  • listed threatened species and communities
  • Ramsar wetlands
  • listed migratory species.

The strategic assessment will include infrastructure construction, water extraction and delivery, and farm property management systems.

Agreement

Under national environment law, the Australian Government Minister for the Environment may agree to a strategic assessment of the impacts of actions on nationally protected matters under a policy, plan or program. On 5 February 2010, the Australian and Tasmanian Governments signed an agreement to undertake a strategic assessment of the Water Access Program for the Midlands Water Scheme.

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Public consultation processes and Supplementary Report

The public comment period on the Program and the Impact Assessment Report ran from 30 September to 4 November 2010. A Supplementary Report was written to address the public comments - it can be found on the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment's Strategic Assessment of the Water Access Program for the Midlands Water Scheme page

Program and Impact Assessment Report

The Program and Impact Assessment Report have been finalised following the public comments process. They can be found on the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment's Strategic Assessment of the Water Access Program for the Midlands Water Scheme page.

Endorsement

On 11 April 2011, the Australian Government Minister for the Environment endorsed the Program. This is the second strategic assessment in Australia to reach the endorsement stage. The endorsement of this program allows the minister to consider giving approval to actions that are taken in accordance with the endorsed Program.

Approvals

On 31 May 2011 the Minister approved the construction of the Lower South Esk component of the Midlands Water Scheme.

On 18 April 2012 the Minister approved the construction of the Arthurs Pipeline Irrigation Scheme component of the Midlands Water Scheme.

On 13 November 2012 the Minister approved the Water Access System component of the Midlands Water Scheme. This is the final component requiring approval under this strategic assessment.

Monitoring and Quality Assurance Protocols

On 3 October 2012 the Australian Government approved a Landscape Monitoring Protocol and Quality Assurance Protocol in accordance with the Endorsed Program.

The Landscape Monitoring Protocol sets out the framework for monitoring, reporting and adaptive management for matters of national environmental significance in the Midlands Water Scheme.

The Quality Assurance Protocol ensures the endorsed Program's conservation commitments to matters of national environmental significance are implemented through on-farm planning in the Midlands Water Scheme. The Quality Assurance Protocol also includes monitoring, auditing and reporting requirements.

Further information