Delivering environmental works and measures for the northern Basin

​​​​The Australian Government is implementing a $3.3 billion package of initiatives to support implementation of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan.

The package includes the implementation of a toolkit of environmental works and measures in the northern Basin.The Northern Basin Amendment to the Basin Plan was made on 3 July 2018. This enables work to proceed on the implementation of the toolkit of environmental works and measures.

Focus of environmental works and measures

The Australian Government will work with the NSW and Queensland governments to implement environmental works and measures identified in the Northern Basin Review, including:

  • arrangements to protect environmental flows
  • targeted recovery of water
  • event-based mechanisms (such as options for pumping and store-and-release)
  • improvements to the coordination and delivery of environmental water
  • environmental works and measures to promote fish movement and habitat (such as building fishways)
  • removal of physical constraints in the Gwydir catchment to improve flows to the wetlands.

Funding for environmental works and measures

The Australian Government will provide up to $180 million over the next 6 years to help the NSW and Queensland governments implement environmental works and measures.

Benefits for Indigenous and other local communities

Communities, floodplain graziers and indigenous people may also benefit from implementation of these measures.

The government will give priority to Indigenous and other local suppliers when delivering new environmental works in the northern Basin.

State governments are working on measures to protect environmental flows. This will help ensure that water reaches floodplains and wetlands (including cultural sites).

New initiatives will improve water access for Indigenous people across the northern Basin and increase their involvement in water planning and management.


The government will work with the NSW and Queensland governments to identify projects.

State governments will consult with communities about projects in their states.

State governments will have until June 2019 to include projects in their own water resource plans. Any approved capital works would have to be operational by June 2024.

The new position of Northern Basin Commissioner will oversee progress on the projects and report annually to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

Learn more about the Murray–Darling Basin Plan.

Last reviewed: 12 October 2020
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