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Commonwealth and NSW purchase Toorale.



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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

NSW Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, Carmel Tebbutt

Australian Government Minister for Climate Change and Water, Penny Wong

PW 175/08 10 September 2008

COMMONWEALTH AND NSW PURCHASE TOORALE

Under a landmark agreement reached today the Australian Government is assisting the New South Wales Government to purchase Toorale Station.

Under this agreement, the property was purchased by NSW today for $23.75 million, with substantial funding assistance from the Australian Government.

NSW will take responsibility for preserving the land, and there is an agreed process for transferring the water to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.

The agreement delivers a significant boost to environmental flows in the Darling River, whilst also providing a boost to the NSW reserve system.

“The Australian Government has worked closely with the NSW Government on the purchase of this significant property,” Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong said.

“This is a great example of cooperative federalism - working together to deliver important progress for Australia’s long term future.”

Toorale currently holds entitlements to extract 14 billion litres of water from the Warrego and Darling Rivers each year, along with rights to harvest water from the floodplain.

“In securing these water entitlements and floodplain harvesting rights, the deal will return an average of 20 gigalitres of water to the Darling River each year, peaking at up to 80 gigalitres in flood years,” Senator Wong said.

“Returning this water to the Darling will begin to turn around the long term decline of this once great river.”

The Toorale Station is a historic grazing and cropping property which is located on the junction of the Darling and Warrego Rivers, near Gundabooka National Park. It contains landscapes of considerable cultural significance to the Aboriginal community and the historic heritage of the property is well recognised.

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, Carmel Tebbutt, welcomed the cooperative federal-state relationship to secure the system’s water future.

“Toorale will make a significant contribution to the National Reserve System and creates a great opportunity to protect this ecologically and culturally important landscape,” Ms Tebbutt said.

“This will enhance the representation of far western NSW Mulga landscapes in our reserve system.

“The purchase of the property is another example of how state and federal governments can work together on matters of national significance.”