REPRESENTATIVES from all sides were present at Wednesday’s Fitzroy Basin Draft Water Resource Plan information meeting, with more than 40 participants cramming into a small room to learn exactly what effect the new plan will have on the future of their water licensing and allocations.
Gathered in an Emerald Department of Environment and Resource Management conference room, those present included irrigators, graziers, AgForce members, mining representatives, SunWater representatives and government workers – all there to learn the ins and outs of the new proposal and how to go about voicing any concerns they might have.
Cotton grower and Fitzroy Basin Food and Fibre chairman Nigel Burnett was among them.
Based in Emerald, Fitzroy Basin Food and Fibre is an incorporated irrigator representative group that lobbies for the interests of more than 400 irrigators.
Mr Burnett said he hoped all those affected by the new plan took the time to look at it with careful consideration.
“Yesterday was an information session to highlight the key points of the plan and give us the chance to ask a few questions,” he said.
“It is now up to everyone to study the proposal and really put their business into consideration, when they do so.
“All we can recommend is that everyone affected reads the plan very carefully and then puts a submission together that details any concerns they may have.”
FBFF executive officer Jean Errol said there were major concerns about overland flow concerning the Comet, Mackenzie and Theresa areas.
“Before we were able to just take as much flood water as we could, now they want us to account for every little drop of water,” she said.
“There is too much regulation and that means there is no flexibility for development.
“This plan stifles irrigation development in every area – and all those areas of possible development will suffer because of it.
“How are we going to feed the people in 30 years time if we can’t develop?”
Compared to irrigators in the Callide Valley, Central Highland growers are seemingly getting off easy, with our Callide neighbours standing to lose up to 50% of their water allocations – a part of the proposal over which more than 130 irrigators voiced their anger during the Biloela leg of the information tour.
The Fitzroy Basin Draft Water Resource Plan is currently in its third stage (of four). The State Government is accepting submissions from all concerned until April 4.
The proposal will then move forward on its long road to becoming subordinate legislation.
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