Plans to corporatise the Snowy Mountain hydroelectric scheme by January 2001 are continuing as planned. This is despite an Environment Australia report recommending its delay until March next year, when the impacts of the water diversions required to restore flows in the Murray river will be established. Improved environmental health for both rivers was the objective, the report said, while the corporatisation of the Snowy Mountains hydroelectric scheme was environmentally acceptable.
A report under way by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, due next March, is studying the long term consequences of diverting flows into the Murray from the Snowy river. But Federal Resources Minister, Senator Nick Minchin, has said that he intends to finalise the corporatisation by 1 January 2001.
The Environment Australia report is expected to clear the way for the federal government to participate in the ten-year, A$300M (US$154M), plan by Victoria and New South Wales state governments, to restore flows in the Snowy river to 28% of its original capacity.