The Nationals in Government have committed $30 million to upgrade the Wilcannia Weir.
Jointly-funded by the State and Federal Governments, the weir will provide a source of drinking water, as well as being a place for recreation and culture.
NSW Nationals Water Minister Niall Blair said he was committed to seeing this project come to fruition.
“This project goes beyond just providing drinking water, this weir is a place for the Wilcannia community to swim, fish and celebrate the cultural traditions it holds dear,” Mr Blair said. “I know this project has taken some time but we didn’t give up, we said we would keep going until we could deliver the funding and today I am happy to say we hold true to that commitment. We expect that the preferred location and design of the weir to be confirmed by mid next year, with construction expected by the end of 2019.”
Federal Nationals Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said a business case would be put together to select the best location.
“We’ve got the money sitting in the bank and this business case will make sure it’s well spent,” Minister Littleproud said. “The weir is an important place for local Aboriginal communities and cultural gatherings. This is one part of the Government’s commitments under the May 7 agreement with the opposition to improve outcomes for indigenous Basin communities.”
Nationals Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the development will bolster the local community.
“Locals have been calling for a new weir for decades and we’re determined to see it through,” Mr Coulton said. “A new weir will secure the community’s future so locals can keep enjoying the Wilcannia life.”
NSW Nationals Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries said he started this work as Minister for Western NSW five years ago with the then-Member for Murray-Darling John Williams.
“We met with representatives of the community on the banks of the Darling River in 2013, at ‘Cemetery Rocks’, downstream of the Wilcannia township,” Mr Humphries said. “The good work of the community will see a weir pool built to meet the current needs of the community and future opportunities for the region.”
Funding for Wilcannia Weir is drawn from the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program, a national program investing in rural water use, management and efficiency.