DECISION TIME: SunWater’s Colin Bendell, local irrigator Robert Ingram and Netty Smith.
DECISION TIME: SunWater’s Colin Bendell, local irrigator Robert Ingram and Netty Smith. Amelia Ahern

Emerald irrigators vote for transfer to local board

BALLOTS have closed and local irrigators are in favour of local management of the Emerald irrigation channels.

The Emerald Interim Board has submitted a business proposal to transfer ownership from SunWater. The business proposal was supported by 77% of the scheme's Water Allocation Entitlement holders by water volume, while 8% were opposed and 15% did not respond.

"We are pleased with the level of support given," board chair Netty Smith said.

"A move to local management would be a large cultural change.

"We are expecting Cabinet to consider our proposal toward the end of this year, but irrespective of government's decision, this investigation of local management has provided irrigators with information about the true condition of the scheme and the true cost of running it."

If approved, the change is set to help irrigators regain control of growing costs.

Local irrigator and interim board member Cam Geddes said the move "would mean that the management of costs, service input and future investment would be made by a board (voted on by locals) of grower representatives and business experts".



Local management

IRRIGATORS in six of the eight SunWater channel irrigation schemes in Queensland have voted to transfer to local management.

 St George, Eton, Theodore, Emerald and the Burdekin have voted yes.

 Mareeba and the Lower Mary have supported further investigation.

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