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Simplifying water information reporting
In March, the Australian Government released a report
identifying a number of measures to reduce the regulatory
burden and costs of providing water information for
industry, and accepted all the recommendations presented.
‘The recommendations and actions in the report support the
Australian Government’s commitment to reduce red tape
and regulatory burden on business,’ Deputy Prime Minister
and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby
‘The reforms are designed to improve the operation of the
Water Act, and ensure it delivers on its objectives more
effectively and efficiently, and this will complement the
work we’re already doing to improve the Act, including
amendments introduced to Parliament in December.
‘By implementing these measures, we expect regulatory
savings in excess of $100,000 per year across 22 rural and
urban utilities, which is a great outcome for the water industry.
Measures identified to reduce the burden of providing
water information include:
a 73 per cent reduction in the number of water
information subcategories that the Bureau of
Meteorology requires from rural water entities, including
irrigation infrastructure operators
single point of delivery arrangements for information
from urban water utilities to remove duplication of data
reported to both the Bureau of Meteorology and the
Australian Bureau of Statistics
the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
has separately reduced the number of questions in its
requests for water information from Murray–Darling
Basin infrastructure operators by between 37 and
77 per cent.
Funding now available for infrastructure upgrades
for New South Wales irrigators
Irrigators in northern New South Wales can now apply for a share
of $111million in funding to upgrade on-farm water infrastructure,
with Round 7 of the Sustaining the Basin Irrigated Farm
Modernisation program opening today.
‘Under this program, irrigators are able to implement infrastructure
improvements that deliver real benefits at the farm gate, like greater
flexibility in crop choice, increased yields and the ability to produce a
larger crop from lower water allocations,’ says Deputy Prime Minister
and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce.
‘More than $9.5 million was invested in projects under Round 6
of the program, including works to upgrade and reconfigure water
storages, and install new infrastructure, such as pump stations and
lateral-move irrigation systems.
‘These projects are expected to generate more than 2960
megalitres in water savings – of which more than 700 megalitres
will be retained by irrigators, and the remainder used to support
positive environmental outcomes in the Basin.
‘Building better infrastructure is at the core of our vision for a
productive and healthy Murray–Darling Basin, and we are making an
average of around $2.5 million available each day for infrastructure
upgrades to support agricultural productivity and profitability, strong
communities, and healthy ecosystems across the Basin.’
Water resource assessments to unlock the full
potential of the north
Major opportunities to expand irrigated agriculture across northern
Australia are a step closer with the $15 million Northern Australia
Water Resource Assessment by the CSIRO now underway.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water
Resources Barnaby Joyce, and Minister for Northern Australia
Matt Canavan, say work is underway on water resource
assessments of the Mitchell River Basin in north Queensland; the
Finniss, Adelaide, Mary and Wildman river basins in the Darwin
region; and the Fitzroy River Basin in Western Australia.
‘These assessments are designed to ensure that any investment we
make in water infrastructure delivers genuine returns at the farm gate,
increases the capacity and productivity of agricultural industries, and
strengthens regional communities,’ says Minister Joyce.
‘These assessments will help us unlock [northern Australia’s]
potential by providing a comprehensive evaluation of the feasibility,
economic returns and sustainability of water infrastructure in
each of these regions by undertaking comprehensive scientific
analysis and modelling, and identifying and testing the commercial
viability of development opportunities, such as irrigated agriculture,
aquaculture, forestry and mining.’
Minister Canavan says developing water resources is a key
element of the government’s commitment to unlocking the great
opportunities of the north, and realising the full potential of
northern Australia as an economic powerhouse.
‘More than half of Australia’s rainfall occurs in northern Australia,
but it remains largely unused. Developing these water resources
would remove one of the constraints holding northern Australia
back,’ Minister Canavan says.
‘The Northern Australia Water Resource Assessment will provide
a detailed picture of what resources are available and where,
giving us a solid understanding of the scale and nature of the
opportunities for development.’
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