Local Management one step closer for regions
Published Monday, 12 December, 2016 at 11:01 AM
Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports and Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply
The Honourable Mark Bailey
Four Queensland channel irrigation schemes are one step closer to being managed by the very locals who know their water needs best.
Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply Mark Bailey said the Government’s formal offers for the local management of water assets presents a major opportunity for local Queensland communities to rejuvenate their irrigation schemes.
“This is the next vital step in continuing the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to rural Queensland and delivering on our election commitment to irrigators,” Mr Bailey said.
“For the first time irrigators in Emerald, Eton, St George and Theodore have been given formal offers to take-over their channel schemes with the offer to transfer all below-dam water assets from the government-owned corporation SunWater to local ownership and control, as well as sharing $36.6 million to help with the transition.
“The transfer of these water schemes from SunWater to local management will give greater transparency, while giving water users greater control of their water pricing and operations.
“These offers demonstrate the government’s commitment to agriculture and regional Queensland, including water supply.
“It provides the initial funds each scheme needs to run and maintain these assets and establish an entity, independent of government, to invest in this infrastructure well into the future.
“These offers are the result of careful consideration of the recommendations made in Stage 2 of the LMA project and the business proposals submitted by the schemes showing how these schemes could be run under local management” Mr Bailey said.
Acting Chair of the central coordination body for local irrigators LMA Support Services Pty Ltd and Chair of the Bundaberg Interim Board Maurie Maughan welcomed the announcement.
“It is now up to the board in each scheme to carefully consider the offers and consult with scheme customers on whether they want to proceed to the final investigations and potential transfer,” Mr Maughan said.
“We know that the management of water has significant challenges and I urge scheme customers to give rigorous consideration to what local ownership could mean.
“I encourage customers in these schemes to have their say in the future of their irrigation water supply.”
Mr Bailey said with much of rural Queensland drought affected, reliable and well managed water supply is vital to rural communities and industries.
“The people who know the most about their water supply are locals,” Mr Bailey said.
Interim Boards in the Bundaberg, Burdekin-Haughton, Lower Mary and Mareeba-Dimbulah schemes have commenced the revision of their business proposals and will be carrying out further investigations and customer consultation before submitting their revised business later next year.
Media contact: Zoe Russell – 0428 079 640