Media Releases

Floodplain Harvesting Inquiry Report Calls for Illegal Floodplain Works to be Removed 15/12/2021

Healthy Rivers Dubbo is strengthening calls for all unapproved and illegal floodplain harvesting levees in the Macquarie Valley to be removed from the landscape as soon as possible, following the release of the Select Committee’s report into Floodplain Harvesting.

The report made three recommendations about unapproved floodplain levee works:

  • That no levees alter natural flows when extraction is not permitted
  • That all unlawful structures are removed within 6 months
  • That no floodplain harvesting licences be issued for illegal levee works

“It seems remarkable that the government has not yet removed illegal floodplain works in the Macquarie Wambuul Valley, especially as these works have been denying critical flood flows to the Ramsar listed Macquarie Marshes for decades now. “Even more remarkable that the government would be considering granting valuable floodplain harvesting entitlements to so many of these works.” Said Lou Norton of Healthy Rivers Dubbo.


Proposed re-regulating dam set to destroy the best Murray Cod breeding spots in the Macquarie-Wambuul River 18th November 2021

The most important breeding sites for threatened Murray Cod in the Wambuul-Macquarie River have been identified in a report released by the Commonwealth Government on Thursday, and they are right where the NSW Government plans to build an enormous new dam. 

All four of the monitoring sights near Gin Gin used for the study would be destroyed by the proposed Macquarie River re-regulating storage project, known locally as the Gin Gin dam.  

“This zone has previously been identified as a strong-hold for Murray cod recruitment within the Macquarie River” wrote the report’s author Jerom Stocks.

The report shows that water for the environment was used during Spring 2020 to provide stable flows to support Murray Cod nesting during the peak breeding period, and that water management by environmental water holders and community stakeholders was successful. However all the efforts and success of water for the environment would be for nothing should the NSW Governments plans to construct a new dam at Gin Gin go ahead.


NSW told to re-double efforts to cut water take 1st August 2021

The Murray Darling Basin Authority released the first compliance report for the 2019-20 water year, and found that NSW has not being doing a good enough job to reduce water extraction in the Barwon Darling water source area.

The rules that manage extraction in the Barwon Darling have been a matter of controversy in recent years, sparking an ICAC investigation, and being pointed to as contributing to the Menindee fish kills in 2019.

“Methods that are used to assess how much water is taken in the Barwon Darling are based on old data that isn’t relevant anymore. It’s likely even more water is being taken than has been reported.” Said Mel Gray, Convenor of Healthy Rivers Dubbo.


Government Inquiry highlights worry over Gin Gin dam impacts 28th July 2021

A parliamentary committee report looking at the controversial proposal to build a large ‘re-regulating’ dam in the Macquarie Rivers at Gin Gin was released today. The committee says they have ‘significant concerns about the potential negative ecological impacts’ of the proposal.

Community concern that WaterNSW won’t keep their hands off tributary inflows from below Burrendong dam is shared by the committee. The report says the lack of clarity regarding the use of tributary flows for water orders and how this will change as a result of the project is concerning.


Dubbo turns out in support of the Macquarie River. 24th June 2021

A public meeting was held on Wednesday night in Dubbo on the topic of the proposed Gin Gin dam. The 100 people who turned out exceeded expectations, seats filled fast and there was standing room only.

“The questions from the crowd showed the level of interest and concern for the Gin Gin proposal and other issues” said Ms Di Clifford, Vice President of the Dubbo Environment Group.

It was a rare opportunity to hear from a range of experts and experienced locals with decades of knowledge about the valley.

Trangie local Mr Tony Lees spoke passionately about his connection with the river and the popular camp site at Gin Gin. Everything is connected, he reminded us.


Professor Richard Kingsford to speak in Dubbo 11 June 2021

Professor Richard Kingsford will join an impressive line-up of speakers at a public meeting about the proposed Gin Gin re-regulating dam on the Macquarie River.

The public meeting is to be held on Wednesday the 23rd June from 6.30pm at the Pastoral Hotel in Talbragar Street Dubbo.

Professor Kingsford’s expertise covers river ecology, water use in Australia, wetland ecology, waterbirds, river policy, and dam building effect.


WaterNSW keep trying to flog a dud plan 10 May 2021

WaterNSW continued to push the Macquarie River Gin Gin re-regulating dam project on concerned communities last week, despite the significant deficiencies with the project plans identified by the NSW Government last year.

“Locals in Warren remember how devastating it was when the Macquarie was cut off in the recent drought, and fish had to be rescued from the river. The Government has said that in future droughts the river could be cut off at Gin Gin. Anyone downstream of this proposed dam should be very worried.” 


Playing Favourites on the Floodplain 18 April 2021

The NSW Government have been touting that by licencing the controversial practice, they are
bringing water take back in line with the Cap Limit on extraction set in 1994, and returning some
critically important flood flows to the ailing river systems of the west.
However the Macquarie will be missing out on seeing any water returned to the valley, as the NSW
Government – keeping true to their form of prioritising irrigation over everyone else – have
increased the Cap Limit, and are claiming that floodplain harvesting can remain at current levels.

“It is bewildering that the Government can wave a magic wand and claim less water is being taken
now than in 1994, when we can see the wetlands, rivers and fish dying in front of our eyes.”


Crowds turn out for the Gin Gin Community Day 21 February 2021

“We’re really happy with the turn out, it exceeded my expectations. The day had a relaxed atmosphere, as we shared a BBQ and a chat, as families swam in the river and fished. It’s a special place on the river that means a lot to the community.” Mr Tony Lees, Trangie Aboriginal Land Council.

String lines had been placed eight and a half metres, or two and a half stories above the popular fishing site, to show how deep the water would be if the proposed dam was at full capacity. The impact was startling.


Gin Gin Community Day Sunday 21st February 2021 14 February 2021

“The final business case for the project is expected to be completed soon, and a decision to fund further study will be made. It is critical that the business case be made public, so the community know how much of our money is being spent on a project that will have such a devastating impact on the environment and the livelihoods of many.”


Old habits die hard in NSW water management 28 November 2020

The future of the 250 million year old Darling-Baaka River is being decided now as the NSW
Government develops rules about how much water can be diverted off floodplains before it reaches
the river.


NSW Inquiry into dodgy dam plans warmly welcomed 1 September 2020

“Combined, the four dam projects would hold back a massive 770 billion litres from rivers and communities in the Murray Darling Basin. That’s more than a third of the 2,075 billion litres of water to be returned to the rivers under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

“Dams don’t make more water – they take water away from downstream users and the environment, and make it available to only a few upstream users.


No New Weir. Don’t Damn The Macquarie. 13 July 2020

Coral Peckham, Tubba-Gah Maing Wiradjuri: “We’re concerned about our sacred sites along the river, and our aquatic flora and fauna. They all need water. Our aims and objectives are to look after Country for future generations.”

Sandra Peckham, Wiradjuri Bogan River People: “No dam. If this dam goes ahead and a heritage site is destroyed, it will be just like what Rio Tinto did in WA, knowingly destroying cultural sites. “


Macquarie re-regulating dam plan 19 April 2020

“A plan to build an enormous regulating weir on the Macquarie River at Gin Gin will mean a significant reduction in small and medium flows getting through to Warren and further downstream to the Marshes and Barwon Darling. The river from Warren was already sacrificed to water mismanagement last summer, it looks like Dugald Saunders National Party are willing to sacrifice it on a regular basis.”