Southwest and border rural communities and producers in Queensland will have an chance to have their say on new trading opportunities and better water monitoring for their local waterways.
Revised draft plans for the Border Rivers, Moonie, and Condamine and Balonne catchments are now available for comment, with five public information sessions scheduled across the region in May 2018.
Minister for Natural Resources, Dr Anthony Lynham, said the plans would take Queensland a step further to meeting its Murray-Darling Basin Plan commitments, as well as provide development opportunities for rural producers and industry.
“These plans will expand the water market by converting more than 39 gigalitres of water into tradable water allocations,” Dr Lynham said.
“These trading opportunities will help drive economic development across the southwest and border region, with rural and town business able to buy, sell and lease surplus water.
“At the same time, targets for measuring water use and new regular reporting on the take of overland flow water in high use areas will ensure Queensland meets its environmental and sustainability requirements under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
“These new plans take us another step closer to meeting our commitment implementing the Basin Plan on time and in full by June 2019.”
Dr Lynham said the draft plans also included greater recognition of Aboriginal cultural and economic needs.
“The draft plans provide for unallocated water reserves that will be used to support economic opportunities, cultural sites and the protection of important local fish, birds and water holes,” Dr Lynham said.
“Five yearly reports will also be prepared in consultation with Aboriginal people to support the water flow requirements for their cultural values and use.
“I encourage all communities and users in the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin catchments to provide their feedback on this vital natural resource.”