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The NSW Government’s historic Floodplain Harvesting Policy is one step closer to completion, making NSW the first state in Australia to measure and license floodplain harvesting.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said three amendments made to the Water Management (General) Regulation 2018 today will allow for the licensing and measurement of floodplain harvesting, making the country’s most robust floodplain harvesting rules enforceable by law.

“Measuring and licensing floodplain harvesting has been talked about for 20 years now and we are getting on with the job of making the Floodplain Harvesting Policy a reality,” Minister Pavey said.

“I’ve said all along, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. The amendments made today are a significant step in bringing floodplain harvesting into a clear and enforceable regulatory framework, ensuring that floodplain harvesting remains within legal limits.

“The scale and complexity of this massive reform should not be underestimated, and I want to thank those communities, farmers and other stakeholders who have contributed to discussions held over the last few years.”

All three amendments were consulted on extensively in 2020 and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has considered all feedback in finalising the regulations.

The regulations:

  • Set out the process for determining license entitlements and provide consistency in this process across the state;
  • Specify how floodplain harvesting will be measured and monitored and sets out metering requirements for water users;
  • Provide an exemption for rainfall runoff into an irrigation tailwater drain in certain locations, during specified times.

“These regulations give 12,000 farmers and farmer-owned irrigation corporations certainty over what will be required to become compliant and they improve transparency by clearly outlining how the policy is being implemented,” Minister Pavey said.

“They also give us a clear framework to continue rolling out the policy in other areas of the state where floodplain harvesting occurs.

“Despite the uncertainty created by the disallowance of transitional arrangements by the Upper House last year, we are pushing through with implementing the necessary changes that will see NSW become the first Basin state to accurately measure and regulate floodplain harvesting.”

Information on the regulations and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment publication of “What We Heard” reports can be found here.