While visiting the Murray Darling Basin Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek has announced that the Government is committing $15 million to the Wilcannia Weir project, jointly with the NSW Government.
Construction of a new weir for the community of Wilcannia is already providing important employment and skills training opportunities for residents. The weir is on track to deliver reliable water and environmental benefits by 2024.
This project is providing local construction and hospitality jobs and has already supported 20 Indigenous students to graduate TAFE.
The proposal is to build the new weir 5 km downstream from the old weir, which was built in 1942 using stone blocks but is no longer fit for its purpose of supplying the town with reliable water.
The new weir will include gates and a fishway to support downstream flows and enable native fish to travel up and down the river. Fish movements support a healthier Darling River, known as Baaka by the Barkindji people.
Quotes attributable to the Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek:
“This project is extremely important for the Wilcannia community and surrounding region.
“It will ensure that the community has a reliable water supply and will deliver improved environmental outcomes in and around Baaka.
“It will be a place for the local community to swim, fish and gather, just as it has always been and continues to be for the First Nations people of the Wilcannia region.
“The new weir will improve water flows downstream while holding some water for community use, using state-of-the-art engineering and technology.
“It is an example of how water infrastructure projects can benefit both the environment and a community’s economic and social wellbeing.
“Labor will continue to support projects like this, to promote stronger communities and healthier rivers, while injecting much needed funds into our regional economies.”