Irrigators and communities are expected to benefit economically and environmentally from the signing of the ‘Intergovernmental Agreement on Implementing Water Reform in the Murray-Darling Basin’ along with an amended National Partnership Agreement.
This partnership is expected to help improve water delivery across the basin, boosting production and operations among agriculture and resource organisations in Queensland and New South Wales. This effort may encourage these businesses to expand their labour force to cope with the increase in production, which is good news for those seeking apprenticeships in Roma and other nearby towns.
Andrew Cripps, Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, expressed his delight at witnessing such a ‘sensible and proactive’ deal for Queensland’s resource and agriculture industries.
“The Newman government has been a strong voice for the Murray-Darling Basin and I am pleased to see funding commitments finally delivered to irrigators and local communities,” he said in a February 27 media release.
Mr Cripps revealed how, prior to the signing of these agreements, he had urged the Commonwealth government to enact a scientific work program in the northern basin in order to examine the water recovery and delivery in Queensland.
This new agreement is expected to help deliver ‘real economic benefits’ for local communities and businesses, while also protecting the health of the waterways and river systems across the state.
“This agreement also provides more than $13 million in funding over the next six years to enable Queensland to deliver on a range of obligations under the Basin Plan and an additional $5.3 million for a range of scientific projects, which will inform the further review of the plan,” Mr Cripps explained.
Mr Cripps also welcomes a $15 million funding commitment from the Abbot government to support any changes required by local communities affected by this new agreement. This investment will be managed and negotiated by Senator Birmingham for the Regional Economic Diversification Program.
A promise to reduce the green tape associated with the related Healthy HeadWaters program will also help deliver additional support to local irrigators.
“This year alone we have seen $11 million injected into Queensland’s Murray-Darling Basin communities through round five of the Healthy HeadWaters Water Use Efficiency project,” Mr Cripps said.
“Through this funding, irrigators will gain access to modern irrigation technologies and practices, delivering efficient and sustainable farm production.”
By Leanne de Toerkenczy, Public Relations Coordinator