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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
    The Honourable Anthony Lynham

    Water release offers growth, jobs for north-west, Gulf

    Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
    The Honourable Anthony Lynham

    Friday, November 06, 2015

    Water release offers growth, jobs for north-west, Gulf

    More than a quarter-of-a-million megalitres of industry-boosting water is to be made available to drive jobs and growth in north-west Queensland and the Gulf.

    Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham today called for tenders to share in the new water from five Gulf river catchments.

    “This tender delivers on the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to unlock water to support sustainable agriculture, rural industry jobs and local development in Gulf communities,” Dr Lynham said.

    “The water is available from five geographic areas, with smaller volumes available in some areas of the catchment to suit smaller rural producers, and larger volumes in other areas to suit larger ventures.

    “This will provide a tremendous boost for communities like Hughenden, Richmond, Julia Creek, Burketown, Croydon, Normanton, Mount Isa and Cloncurry and local businesses in those towns which will benefit from water releases and the sustainable growth it will support.”

    Dr Lynham said he had listened to local communities, including the Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter, about their needs.

    “What I’ve heard from Mr Katter, the local councils, and the community is that they want to make sure that smaller and larger producers all get a chance to bid,” he said.

    “That’s why government has taken this action, making different volumes of water available in different areas.”

    He said water licences would include conditions to protect the environment and existing users’ access to water.

    “Successful tenders will be granted a water licence for a specified volume of water per annum,” he said.

    “The annual and daily volumes will ensure new water entitlements will not compromise the reliability of existing entitlements.

    “Flow thresholds will ensure that peak flows continue to provide ecological benefits to waterholes, floodplains, estuaries and the important Gulf fisheries.”

    The water is being made available from unallocated general reserves from the Flinders, Gregory, Leichhardt, Norman and Nicholson river catchments of the Gulf Water Resource Plan area.

    Dr Lynham said conforming tenders would be assessed through a transparent competitive tender process against the evaluation criteria and other information set out in the Terms of Sale.

    The Department of Natural Resources and Mines will hold public information sessions in Gulf communities to provide information about the tender process.

    Dr Lynham said water would only be made available in the nearby Gilbert River catchment after the environmental impact assessment for the Integrated Food and Energy Development proposal had been completed. The $1.98 billion agri-business project near Georgetown proposes sugar and guar cropping, grazing, meat processing and aquaculture with water to be diverted from the Etheridge and Einasleigh Rivers.

    Tenders for Flinders water close 29 January 2016.

    For more information about the tender and information sessions visit dnrm.qld.gov.au.

    EDS: Visit the DNRM Media Centre for print quality pics and web images.

    ENDS                          6 November, 2015

    Media contact:           Jan Martin       0439 341 314