The Healthy HeadWaters Water Use Efficiency project is a Queensland state priority project agreed to by the Australian and Queensland governments at the July 2008 Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting. The project is funded by the Australian Government as part of the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program. The project is delivered by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.
The project was designed to assist irrigation farmers in the Queensland 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 is now closed and the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines and Energy is finalising the remaining approved projects.
How the project works
Irrigators holding tradeable surface water allocations in Queensland 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
The Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, in collaboration with the Queensland Government Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, commissioned an independent assurance review by KPMG of the Healthy HeadWaters project.
The objective of the review was to examine the governance, risk and control processes of the Healthy HeadWaters project to ensure the effective use of Commonwealth funds.
KPMG selected a random sample of 20 projects (25 per cent of all projects) from the Healthy HeadWaters project for a desktop review, and within this sample selected nine projects for on-farm verification.
The sample covered projects ranging in total cost from $100,000 to over $5 million, across various funding rounds, different types of infrastructure works, and across a variety of catchment areas.
Overall, KPMG’s assessment of the Healthy HeadWaters project found:
- Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy have developed and implemented a number of controls, processes and structures to assist in the effective administration of the Healthy HeadWaters project.
- the projects reviewed through desktop and site visits corresponded with scope and progress reported and maintained by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
- 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 Healthy HeadWaters project. The review report and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources response are available below.
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