Wilcannia Weir upgrade

On 12 November 2018 the NSW Minister for Regional Water, Niall Blair, and the Commonwealth Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, announced a $30 million commitment for the upgrade of Wilcannia Weir.

The weir offers more than water security. It will be a place for the Wilcannia community to swim, fish, walk, picnic and celebrate spiritual and cultural traditions. The upgrade is part of the federal government’s commitment to improve outcomes for Aboriginal communities in the Murray–Darling basin.

Following extensive community engagement, the NSW government prepared a scoping study (PDF 16.4 MB) and business case (PDF 5.2 MB), and has also prepared a consultation summary (PDF 208.5 KB). The investigations considered many possible ways and locations for upgrading the weir, and narrowed the options to:

  1. do nothing
  2. upgrade the existing weir and build a new ‘river place’ at the rock bar downstream of the town bridge
  3. build a new weir 5.2km downstream of the existing weir.

A stakeholder workshop confirmed option 3 as the preference. An overview map (PDF 1.0 MB) showing the location of the shortlisted options is available.

No final decision has been made and we are seeking further feedback from the community on the preferred location of the weir.

The government has engaged a specialist Indigenous community consultant, Big River, to manage the consultations. During January and February 2019 there will be stakeholder discussions and interviews conducted in Wilcannia to gauge community needs and expectations. More information on dates and times is available in the fact sheet (PDF 104.2 KB).

Following the consultation process and the determination of a final preferred option for the weir, we will complete detailed concept designs and an environmental assessment to enable the commencement of construction.

You can provide feedback on the proposal by filling in the online feedback form, or you can arrange an interview or contact the consultation team by calling 1800 837 445 or by emailing wilcannia@brii.com.au

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are we consulting with the community?

The 2016 review included extensive consultations with the community but, although a workshop identified a preferred option, no final decision was made. All community cultural sensitivities and expectations must be addressed before adopting a final option.

What was the preferred option identified from the previous consultation?

The preferred option was a new weir approximately 5.2 km downstream of the existing weir. This option was confirmed after extensive technical investigations, community discussions, consideration of Indigenous social, cultural and spiritual concerns and a stakeholder workshop.

Why has it taken so long to get here?

There have been many investigations in the past, but no funding for construction has been committed until now.

On 5 November 2019 the NSW Minister for Regional Water and the Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources announced funding of up to $30 million to make sure the project is delivered.

What are the next steps?

This current phase is focused on confirming the final weir location. Once the location is confirmed, concept designs and environmental assessment will be completed. These will be followed by detailed designs and construction.

What is the expected timing of the project?

Now that both the state and federal governments have committed to funding the project in its entirety, construction will be delivered as quickly as possible. The current phase is due to be completed by mid-2019 and the next phases will follow as quickly as possible.

This project has been on the agenda for many years. How do we know the government will deliver this time?

The government is committed to this project and wants to make sure it delivers the right option for the community of Wilcannia. There is now a clear pathway to deliver an upgraded weir.