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Water access licences for 55 water sources in New South Wales will be offered through a tender process to increase water security for communities and businesses.

New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment Chief Operating Officer, Graham Attenborough, said the water access licences are spread across coastal and Murray-Darling Basin water sources.

“Interested parties will have the chance to buy access licences in some regulated river, unregulated river and groundwater sources not included in previous controlled allocations,” Mr Attenborough said.

“The water offered in this controlled allocation comes from licences that were surrendered to the Minister for various reasons, for example where a licence holder gives up a licence because they no longer need it.”

This new controlled allocation order, made on 4 March, is the first controlled allocation order made in 2022 and separate from the controlled allocation order for groundwater in October 2021 that is currently being implemented.

A minimum price has been set for shares in each water source. The shares in these water sources will be offered in order of highest to lowest bids at or above the minimum price until all shares are exhausted or all bids are satisfied.

“Tenders for water access licences in previous controlled allocation processes have attracted diverse interest, ranging from various agricultural industries to mining companies,” Mr Attenborough said.

“The release of these shares will provide another opportunity for new or expanding businesses in regional and urban areas to buy water, which is important given that opportunities to buy water through the trading market are limited in many areas of New South Wales.”

Mr Attenborough said controlled allocations of groundwater began in 2009, and have continued to allow additional sustainable access to water for urban, regional and rural industries and communities.

“This upcoming controlled allocation will also include surface water, providing more opportunities to meet the evolving needs of businesses and communities,” Mr Attenborough said.

The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment invites interested parties to register their interest during the registration of interest period, which will run from 18 March to 18 April 2022.

Further information on the process, including details on how to register an expression of interest, can be found on the department’s website at: www.industry.nsw.gov.au/water/allocations-availability/controlled.

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