Record $300 million support package for Basin communities

Dept of Climate Change, Energy, Environment & Water

The Albanese Labor Government is supporting regional communities with a record $300 million investment as the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is being delivered in full.

Under the Sustainable Communities Program, states will work directly with Basin communities affected by voluntary water purchase, on investments that create and support local jobs and businesses.

Investments may include kickstarting or expanding industries in regional communities which are less water dependent, new community infrastructure projects, workforce development and community support services.

These measures will support Basin communities as 450 gigalitres of water is progressively returned to the environment by 2027.

The support program has been informed by community feedback, work with state and territory governments, lessons from previous water recovery programs, and the latest research.

The Sustainable Communities Program is the second of three new government initiatives to deliver the Basin Plan in full.

The first, the Resilient Rivers Water Infrastructure Program, was launched in January – enabling Basin states to propose water saving projects for funding.

The third, the Voluntary Water Purchase Program, will kick off later this year when the Commonwealth begins purchasing water entitlements from willing sellers.

In the meantime, our government continues to explore and prioritise all viable water recovery options to lessen the impact on communities and the irrigation sector.

A recent successful example has been water efficiency infrastructure and measures implemented in the ACT, which will see an additional 1.46 gigalitres of water recovered and counted towards the 450 gigalitre target.

Delivering on our election commitment, the recovery of 450 gigalitres of water to the Basin will help restore native wetlands and riverbanks, better connect our rivers, and avoid critical species loss.

Quotes attributable to Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek:

“Basin communities were let down by the Coalition who blocked water recovery, tied up programs in impossible rules, and ignored expert advice.

“We’ve changed all that and are getting on with the job of delivering the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in full, in a way that supports communities, jobs and our environment.

“Alongside Basin states and territories, our government is listening carefully to regional communities. We understand there may be social and economic impacts of recovering water.

“That’s why we’re providing a record $300 million support package for Basin communities before water recovery impacts are felt, supporting jobs and economies. It will ensure regional communities are as strong as possible as the Basin Plan is rolled out in full.”

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