FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce has welcomed an Australian Government grant providing $632 000 for river remediation near Tamworth, which will provide the Namoi Catchment with economic, social and environmental benefits from reduced erosion.
Mr Joyce said the funding would address stream-bank erosion issues on a stretch of the Peel River—a watercourse of the Murray–Darling Basin.
“This Peel River Anabranch project is an exciting collaboration between all levels of government, community organisations and business with funding and in-kind support from Landcare Australia Limited, NSW Department of Primary Industry (DPI), North West Local Land Services, Tamworth Regional Council, Lion Dairy and the 20 Million Trees Programme.
“NSW DPI will manage the project but I would like to acknowledge Landcare Australia Limited for their hard work to bring this project to fruition.
“Our river systems are critical to the wellbeing of rural and regional Australia. They carry the lifeblood of our agricultural industries, and are central to a healthy environment and economy,” Mr Joyce said.
“These smaller water courses of the Basin are important to the communities that dot the waterway—and in this case the river supports a range of farms in the Namoi Catchment.
“Issues like erosion can have a big effect on water quality which in turn underpins our irrigation industries around the Basin.
“Water quality is also fundamental to environmental factors like fish health and habitats. Addressing these issues can deliver significant benefits downstream.
“We’re working with Landcare Australia and the NSW Government to deliver this remediation project. They have already implemented similar projects upstream and are well placed to deliver these measures effectively.
“It’s particularly pleasing to see some of our substantial investment in healthy waterways delivering significant benefits to the people in my own electorate of New England.”
Mr Joyce said addressing issues like erosion was another strategy to build the overall health of the Murray–Darling Basin.
“While returning water to the Basin is a big contributor to its overall health, there are many other strategies the Australian Government is employing to maintain healthy river systems and deliver benefits to local communities,” he said.
“Watercourse restoration measures like fencing, off-stream water points, riparian planting, fencing and weed management are simple, but efficient ways to deliver big benefits to Basin communities.
“These measures are complementary to the significant investments we’re making under the Murray–Darling Basin Plan, and all our efforts toward healthy waterways are aimed at the triple bottom lines of economic, social and environmental benefits.”