The SA Government is urging regional Queenslanders to provide input regarding a new plan to manage water in the Great Artesian Basin. The plan aims to support development and protect existing users.

Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham, recently released proposals to be considered for a new plan for Queensland’s share of Australia’s biggest groundwater basin.

“Water from the Great Artesian Basin supports town water supplies, irrigated agriculture, grazing and resource ventures as well as springs of significant cultural and environmental value,” he said.

“The current plan expires on 1 September 2016 so we need a new science-based plan to support economic growth and jobs while ensuring groundwater flows to existing water users and natural ecosystems.

“There is increasing demand for water in the Basin so it’s important that we take a strategic approach to prevent negative impacts that could compromise other water users and the natural environment.

“I encourage anyone with an interest in the Great Artesian Basin to provide their input.”

The Great Artesian Basin underlies more than 1.7 million square kilometres of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory and stores about 64,000 million megalitres of water. About 70 per cent of the Basin lies within Queensland.

Dr Lynham said the plan would involve science-based technical assessments and extensive community consultation; including with the Great Artesian Basin Advisory Council. The Council is a ministerial advisory body comprised of representatives of water users, industry, regional councils and landholder peak bodies.

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines will also host a series of public consultation sessions about the new plan in regional Queensland communities from Normanton to Goondiwindi during October and November.

Submissions close at 5pm on 20 November 2015.

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