The Palaszczuk government has proposed a 10-year extension of the Gulf Water Plan, which it says has played an integral role in supporting the North West Queensland Mineral Province, been vital to small-scale farming, and has value-added to the beef cattle industry.
Water Minister, Anthony Lynham, said that as part of the proposed extension, the government was seeking feedback from the community and industries in the Gulf catchments.
“Due to the success of the plan and the industries and communities it supports, the government is proposing to extend the Gulf Water Plan by an additional 10 years,” Dr Lynham said.
“As part of the proposed extension we are seeking feedback from the community and industry in the Gulf catchments – from the people who know best about their water.
“Latest figures indicate within the Gulf area there is significant spare water, which brings opportunities for new and sustainable development, giving rise to a possible new irrigated agriculture precinct.
“The eight catchments in the Plan’s area account for some 15 per cent of Queensland’s total surface water runoff or 23 million megalitres of water per annum in the Staaten, Gilbert, Norman, Flinders, Leichardt and Nicholson rivers, as well as Settlement Creek and the Morning Inlet catchments.’’
Dr Lynham said it was the diversity of industry – mining, agriculture and tourism – across these catchments which made the region unique as well as making it a hub for recreational fishing and commercial fishing for barramundi and banana prawns.
“The Gulf catchments also support the North West Queensland Mineral Province, which relies heavily on water supplies from Julius and Moondarra dams,’’ Dr Lynham said.
“Effective management of the Gulf region’s water is vital to agricultural development and industry in the north west’s communities.
“While it is great news to see the system is working, public submissions will be considered before making a decision on the plan’s extension.
“It is important though not to be complacent. Any extension will not hinder the government from reviewing or amending the plan at any time in the future should the circumstances change.
“Under the current arrangements, the plan was due to expire on September 1, 2018, but as a result of existing feedback, we are proposing to extend the plan.
“My department will continue to monitor the ongoing health and supply of water in the Gulf system.
“This includes the compulsory five yearly reporting on the plan’s effectiveness.”
Further information can be found on the DNRME website, and feedback on the proposed extension can be given via the website as well.