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Joint Media Release
Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Australian Government Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Warren Truss MP
26 November 2004
The Australian Government is determined to secure the health of the Murray River system and significant progress has been made at a meeting of the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council, Australian Agriculture Minister Warren Truss and Environment Minister Ian Campbell said today.
Meeting at Parliament House in Canberra, the MDBMC - chaired by Minister Truss - approved a range of projects submitted by the NSW and Victorian governments to secure the first 240 GL of water (half the volume of Sydney Harbour every year) for the Living Murray initiative.
"The project proposals registered today will be used to help restore the health of six icon sites along the River Murray," Mr Truss said.
"The projects include water recovery proposals from Victoria's Goulburn-Murray area and Lake Mokoan, and in NSW, through the construction of the Darling-Anabranch pipeline system and pipelines in the Bungunyah-Koraleigh irrigation district, and for stock and domestic supplies in the Poon Boon area."
Senator Campbell said the Australian Government was committed to revitalising the Murray and ensuring a healthy, productive and working river.
"The $500 million Living Murray initiative, which will return much needed environmental water to the river system, is the key," Senator Campbell said.
"Today's Council meeting decisions mean that, as soon as jurisdictions re-commit to the National Water Initiative (NWI), the major Living Murray projects will roll out to the six icon ecological sites along the river."
Mr Truss said the NWI provides irrigators and Basin communities with the security and trading arrangements needed to adjust to any changes to water availability.
The Council also adopted end of valley salinity targets submitted by NSW, Queensland and South Australia and agreed to publish a Basin Salinity Management Strategy report and the Report of the Independent Audit Group for Salinity.
Approval was given to the construction of a serial flushing system as part of salt interception at Lake Tutchewop at a cost of $4.3 million. A $7.5 million contract for continuing sand pumping at the Murray Mouth was also approved.