30th March 2007The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has welcomed the decision by the Prime Minister to allow Queensland to move to complete its water planning process in the Murray-Darling catchments ahead of the Federal takeover of the process.
The plans, which were to be finalised in the next few months after a nine year process, were put on hold by the Queensland Premier when the Prime Minister announced the Commonwealth plans to take over the Murray Darling basin in January.
QFF chief executive officer, John Cherry, said the recommencement of the process in the Border Rivers and Condamine-Balonne would mean that Queensland irrigators would enjoy secure water entitlements on the same basis as the other states when the Commonwealth takes over.
“This decision removes a great weight of uncertainty for farmers and rural communities,” he said.
“Irrigators have invested a lot of time and effort into the planning process and the last thing they wanted to see was the process started all over again.
“The water plan for the Condamine-Balonne has already been reviewed by an independent scientific panel headed by Professor Peter Cullen, and the National Water Commission has also commended Queensland on the thoroughness of its planning process.
“QFF calls on the Queensland Government to now release the draft resource operation plan for the Condamine-Balonne for public comment.
“QFF looks forward to working with the Federal and State Governments on developing the new arrangements for the Murray Darling basin to ensure that twin objectives of water use efficiency and sustainability, and economic certainty for rural producers and communities can be delivered.”
SOURCE: Queensland Country Life weekly rural news service