Salinisation of freshwater has been identified as a serious environmental issue in Australia and around the world. Protective concentrations (trigger values) for salinity can be used to manage salinity impacts, though require locally relevant salinity tolerance information. 72-h acute salinity tolerance values were determined for 102 macroinvertebrates collected from 11 locations in four biologically distinct freshwater bio-regions in Northeast Australia and compared with sensitivities observed in Southeast Australia. The salinity tolerance of individual taxa was consistent across Northeast Australia and between Northeast and Southeast Australia. However, two distinct communities were identified in Northeast Australia using distributions of the acute tolerance values and a calculated index of salinity sensitivity. Salinity trigger values should therefore be representative of local or regionally relevant communities and may be adequately calculated using sensitivity values from throughout Eastern Australia. The results presented provide a basis for assessing salinity risk and determining trigger values for salinity in freshwater ecosystems at local and regional scales in Eastern Australia. Crown Copyright © 2007.