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Environment Protection Authority

EPA proposing minor changes to Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme

Media release: 18 January 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is proposing a series of minor amendments to the Hunter River Salinity Trading Scheme Regulation after a review found the Scheme to be operating well, meeting the needs of farmers and industry, whilst also continuing to protect the environmental value of the Hunter River.

As part of the 10-year statutory review of the Regulation the EPA has been consulting with key industrial, agricultural, community and environmental stakeholders to seek feedback on how the Regulation which governs the Scheme could be improved.

EPA Hunter Region Manager Adam Gilligan said overall the majority of stakeholders supported the scheme and how it is currently operated, with all participants recognising the important role the scheme plays in helping to manage salinity levels in the Hunter River catchment. 

“As a result the proposed amendments to the Regulation are relatively minor changes. The most significant is a proposal to increase the flood flow thresholds in all scheme sectors,” Mr Gilligan said.

“Increasing the flood flow thresholds will future-proof the scheme, by minimising the risk of salinity targets being exceeded during times of flood. It will also help to ensure that salinity credits are valued appropriately over the next 10 years.”

Other potential non-regulatory improvements to the scheme identified through the review, for further consideration by the EPA, include:

  • a review of the efficiency of the online credit trading platform
  • a program of operational/technological improvements to improve the operational efficiency of the scheme, and
  • other investigations and studies to help support the scheme into the future.

“The Hunter River is a vital environmental asset for the local community and while the salinity trading scheme has been an extremely successful in helping industry to manage the impact of salt water discharges, it is important that the Regulation remains strong and relevant so that the River remains healthy and viable for all users.

“I would strongly encourage anyone with an interest in the Hunter River to review the Draft Amendment Regulation and to make a submission via the EPA website” Mr Gilligan said.

For more information visit: www.epa.nsw.gov.au/licensing/hrsts/index.htm.

Submissions close 5pm Friday 19 February 2016.

Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 18 January 2016