Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Support for Murray-Darling Basin communities

Media release
24 February 2011

Tony Burke, Minister for Water, today announced that the Gillard Government will invest in Murray Darling Basin communities with support to implement water savings initiatives.

Mr Burke said 24 applicants across the Basin had received in-principle funding under the second round of the Water Saving Initiatives component of the Strengthening Basin Communities program.

"The Gillard Government is committed to reform in the Murray Darling Basin to deliver a Plan that will restore our rivers to health, ensure strong regional communities and continued food production," Mr Burke said.

"Local governments and urban water service providers in the Murray-Darling Basin play a vital role in helping their communities become more efficient with water.

"These applicants have demonstrated a capacity to undertake a wide variety of initiatives including rebate schemes, upgrade and maintenance of community facilities and the installation of pipelines that have the potential to bring substantial environmental benefits to their communities.

"Infrastructure upgrades are a critical part of Labor's plan to reform the Murray Darling Basin. That is why we've committed $5.8 billion to infrastructure efficiency measures, both on and off farm.

"This funding demonstrates the Gillard Government's commitment to working with local governments and urban water service providers to assist communities in the Murray-Darling Basin prepare their water supplies for the future."

The Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities Department will work with the 24 applicants who have received in-principle approval to finalise the information required from each project. A decision can then be made on whether a funding agreement should be offered to each applicant.

The $200 million Strengthening Basin Communities program was announced in 2009, more than $34 million will be invested under this round to support grants to local government planning projects and water saving initiatives.

Further information on the successful proponents is available at: