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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Energy and Water Supply
    The Honourable Mark McArdle

    Irrigators get their say on local water management

    Minister for Energy and Water Supply
    The Honourable Mark McArdle

    Sunday, April 21, 2013

    Irrigators get their say on local water management

    Irrigators are being called on to take part in the local management review of Queensland’s eight irrigation schemes.

    Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle said advertisements calling for expressions of interest for eight interim boards had recently appeared in local newspapers and industry publications.

    “I am pleased to see the second stage of the project underway and urge people to get involved,” Mr McArdle said.

    “This investigatory phase is about local communities and irrigators carrying out the necessary due diligence and business planning to demonstrate how these schemes could be transferred to viable, long-term local entities.

    “The interim boards will comprise up to five skills-based members (including the Chair), and two members will be independent or non-irrigator representatives.”

    The SunWater channel schemes under consideration include Bundaberg, Burdekin, Emerald, Eton, Lower Mary, Mareeba, St George and Theodore, which collectively involve 2,500 customers, irrigating 150,000 hectares of farmland, via more than 2,500 kilometres of channels, pipelines and drains.

    Dirranbandi irrigator and National Water Commissioner Leith Boully chaired the independent working group that, in stage one of the project, found that SunWater and the irrigators were committed to undertaking detailed investigations of local management options.

    Ms Boully will also lead an independent project team to help the interim boards prepare their business proposals.

    Mr McArdle said to be successful, the proposals would need to demonstrate how local management would ensure long-term sustainability, be in the best interests of the scheme customers and the State, and would contribute to the Newman Government’s vision of building agriculture as one of the four pillars of the economy.

    “The interim boards will submit their business proposals in November 2013 for consideration by government,” he said.

    Ms Boully said it was a golden opportunity for local people to take control of their own schemes instead of having them managed from Brisbane.

    “The closer management is to home, the more locals can engage with those running the scheme,” Ms Boully said.

    More information on lodging an expression of interest is available by emailing the Local Management Arrangements Irrigation Schemes project team on info@lmairrigation.com.au.

    [ENDS]        21 April 2013

    Media contact:      Danielle Keys 07 3239 6626/ 0430 356 609