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The Hon Peter Garrett MP
Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts

Environmental approval for Victorian irrigation project

Media release
13 May 2010

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Environment Protection Minister Peter Garrett has approved the Northern Victoria Irrigation Renewal Project under national environment law, with strict conditions.

“After a thorough assessment and public consultation it’s clear to me this project can go ahead without unacceptable impacts on nationally protected matters,” Mr Garrett said.

“This project is designed to significantly reduce water wastage by upgrading outdated irrigation systems. But we had to be sure these efforts to save water did not inadvertently have an impact on nationally threatened species and ecological communities, migratory species, and internationally important wetlands.

“I have imposed 10 strict conditions to minimise the potential environmental impacts of the project.

“For example, environmental watering plans must be prepared to address potential significant impacts on nationally protected matters. No modified operation which could impact on a site that a plan relates to, can be made until the plan has been approved by me.

“My conditions also require works to stop should new information become available showing that previously undiscovered nationally protected matters are likely to be significantly affected.
“Audits must be carried out by an auditor endorsed by me to ensure the strict conditions of my approval continue to be met.

“My decision was based on a careful assessment of technical studies. I want to thank those interested people who have participated in this thorough and transparent process.”

It is important to note that while a project may be allowed to proceed under national environment law, it may still need other approvals relating to funding or local and state government laws.

Commonwealth of Australia