Agriculture in the Fitzroy River Basin is set to receive a boost under proposals contained in a new draft Resource Operations Plan (ROP) for the Fitzroy which has been released for public consultation by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines in Queensland.

Qld Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said the draft ROP proposes a number of initiatives to support future economic development in the Fitzroy Basin, including the provision of treated water derived from Coal Seam Gas activities for agricultural use in the Dawson Valley.

“This draft plan supports the beneficial use of CSG water by farmers in the upper reaches of the Dawson Valley Water Supply Scheme,” Mr Cripps said.

“This water has the potential to boost agricultural production in the area, supporting one of the four pillars of the economy.

“It’s also another demonstration of successful co-existence between the CSG and farming sector.

“The draft ROP also proposes the introduction of water trading to additional areas, including the Callide Valley Water Supply Scheme, the Lower Callide groundwater sub-area and parts of the Dawson River, Comet River, Retreat Creek and Theresa Creek.”

Mr Cripps said the draft plan for the Fitzroy Basin also addresses the historical over allocation of groundwater in the Callide Valley.

“My Department has worked with Callide Valley irrigators to ensure necessary reductions in water entitlements have a minimal impact on local agriculture,’ he said.

“The plan proposes arrangements to support Callide Valley landholders who have been actively and productively using their water entitlements.

“There is an important mechanism by which Callide Valley irrigators are able to seek an independent review of their entitlement if they feel it does not reflect their investment in water infrastructure.

“I encourage water users in the Fitzroy Basin to consider this draft ROP and take advantage of the advice of DNRM officers should they need assistance.”

DNRM staff will be available in Biloela at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Research Centre on State Farm Road from Monday 25 to Wednesday 27 November. Landholders seeking a meeting are encouraged to book by phoning 1800 822 100.

A series of public consultation meetings will also be held at:

  • Moura – Coal’n’Cattle Hotel – Monday, 18 November – 2.00pm to 4:00pm;
  • Taroom – Taroom Town Hall – Tuesday, 19 November – 9.30am to 11:30am;
  • Emerald – Emerald Government Office Conference Room 99 Hospital Road – Wednesday, 20 November – 9:30am to 11:30am;
  • Comet – School of Arts Community Hall – Wednesday, 20 November – 2:00pm to 4:00pm;
  • Emerald – Emerald Government Office Conference Room 99 Hospital Road – Thursday, 21 November – 10:00am to 12:00pm;
  • Rockhampton – Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Conference Centre corner Yeppoon Road and Bruce Highway, North Rockhampton – Thursday 28 November – 10:00am to 12:00pm.

Public submissions on the new draft plan can be made until 5.00pm Friday 14 February 2014.

Further information on the new draft Fitzroy ROP and details on how to make a submission are available on the DNRM website at http://www.dnrm.qld.gov.au/water/catchments-planning/catchments/fitzroy-basin or by phoning 1800 822 100.

Michelle is a freelance journalist and editor who, as well as covering all the latest and breaking industry news, is a gun proofreader and editor who never misses a trick.

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