The NSW Irrigated Farm Modernisation project delivers water for the environment by upgrading irrigation infrastructure and promoting better water management practices. The project is a New South Wales state priority project agreed by the Australian and New South Wales governments at the July 2008 Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting. The project is funded by the Australian Government and delivered by the New South Wales Department of Industry (Agriculture).
The project was designed to assist irrigation farmers in the New South Wales Murray-Darling Basin by investing in efficient irrigation systems and technologies that reduce water loss, deliver long-term social and economic benefits, and return a share of water savings to the Basin's rivers, wetlands and floodplains.
The project implemented nine funding rounds between 2012 and 2017. No further funding rounds will be run under the project.
How the project returns water to the environment
Irrigators holding tradeable surface water allocations in New South Wales Murray-Darling Basin catchments applied for funding to improve the efficiency of their on-farm irrigation infrastructure.
In return for the Australian Government’s investment in the projects, applicants transferred at least half of the project water savings to the Australian Government for environmental priorities.
Independent assurance review
In 2018 the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, in collaboration with the New South Wales Department of Industry (Agriculture), commissioned an independent assurance review by KPMG of the NSW Irrigated Farm Modernisation project.
The objective of the review was to examine the governance, risk and control processes of the NSW Irrigated Farm Modernisation project to ensure the effective use of Commonwealth funds.
KPMG selected a random sample of 28 projects (25 per cent of all projects) from the NSW Irrigated Farm Modernisation project for a desktop review. Within this sample KPMG selected 12 projects for on-farm verification.
The sample covered projects ranging in total cost from $140,000 to over $5 million, across nine funding rounds and a variety of catchment areas.
Overall, KPMG’s assessment of the NSW Irrigated Farm Modernisation project found:
- New South Wales Department of Industry (Agriculture) have developed and implemented a number of controls, processes and structures to assist in the effective administration of the NSW Irrigated Farm Modernisation project.
- the projects reviewed through desktop and site visits corresponded with scope and progress reported and maintained by the New South Wales Department of Industry (Agriculture)
- no instances of non-compliance with key provisions of the Water Management Partnership Agreement
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources supports the independent assurance review findings by KPMG of the New South Wales Irrigated Farm Modernisation project. The review report and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ response are available below.
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