The New south Wales Budget has outlined $1.1 billion in spending in the Department of Primary Industries to deliver services and programs for the state's rural and regional communities.

State Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, said that the Budget will maximise opportunities for the Department of Primary Industries, which covers areas including Agriculture, Forests, Fisheries, Water, Catchment Management Authorities and Crown Lands.

Spending includes:

  • $90 million to be spent on NSW fisheries, some of which will go toward funding the NSW Government’s commitment for a scientific audit of marine parks as well as restructuring the commercial fishing industry.

  • More than $380 million will be invested in Catchment Management Authorities and Crown Lands, including $230 million for the proper management of the State’s 33,000 Crown reserves.

  • $260 million investment in NSW water management, and $97 million for the State’s water utilities, of which $84 million will go toward the Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage Program to fund important sewerage and water upgrades in the State.

  • $12.3 million for coastal infrastructure repairs on maritime assets on Crown Land including major maintenance works at Batemans Bay, Bermagui, Coffs Harbour, Eden, Nelson Bay, Port Macquarie, Swansea and Wollongong.

  • More than $11 million to fund water and sewerage programs within 60 Aboriginal communities across NSW.

  • $7.5 million for the continued rehabilitation of artesian bores as part of the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative (GABSI), which is an infrastructure renewalprogram funded jointly by NSW and the Commonwealth.

  • $5.5 million to meet the Government’s commitments under the Tweed River EntranceSand Bypassing Act 1995, which will see the continuation of sand pumping and dredging at the entrance of the Tweed River.

James Cook University scientist George Lukacs has been elected President-Elect of the Society of Wetland Scientists, an international organisation of about 4000 members dedicated to fostering sound wetland science, education, and management.

A  collaborative research body aimed at improving sustainability practices of water use in the fringes of Australia's largest cities has been expanded.

The joint Western Australian and Federal Government Drought Pilot panel has published its drought policy platform into adapting and dealing with future droughts in the country.

Western Australia's Southern Seawater Desalination Plant has commenced operation and is set to start supplying drinking water to Perth residents.

Australia's first desalination research facility has opened in Rockingham, Western Australia. The research facility, a joint venture between State and Federal Governments, was launched by local and international specialists.

The discovery of fresh water underneath outback billabongs could impact Wild Rivers legislation and Water Resource Management plans, according to a leading water researcher.

The Economic Regulation Authority has published the 2011 operational audit and asset management system review report for Busselton Water Board’s (Busselton Water) water services licence.

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