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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 1284 asked in the Legislative Council on 4 December 2018 by Hon Jacqui Boydell

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

WATER RESOURCE ASSESSMENT — FITZROY CATCHMENT

1284. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the Minister for Regional Development:

I refer to the ''Water resource assessment for the Fitzroy catchment'', a report to the Australian government from the CSIRO on the northern Australia water resource assessment.

(1) Does the government support the recommendations of the report?

(2) Will the minister outline the state government's position on to the development of the Fitzroy catchment area?

(3) Will the minister outline what measures are in place to support interested investors in the region?

(4) How are state and federal governments collaborating to ensure the successful implementation of the ideas outlined in (1)?

Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:

I thank the member for the question.

(1) The work of the CSIRO was very valuable. It mapped water availability and suitable soil types and correlated the two. That they identified areas that would be suitable for horticultural development does not mean that it was arguing that all those areas should be developed. Its task was simply to identify those regions that were suitable. We are looking at the recommendations of the report. We accept the underlying science, but other issues need to be taken into account.

(2) We have confirmed our position that we will not allow the Fitzroy River or its tributaries to be dammed. We support sustainable development in the Fitzroy catchment. Irrigated agriculture will be part of this development matrix and, although the CSIRO report identifies the potential land and water available for irrigated agriculture, development is likely to be on a smaller incremental scale.

(3) The government has committed to the development of a water allocation plan and a management plan for the Fitzroy catchment, both of which are critical to support investor confidence in the catchment while protecting the region's environmental values.

(4) The state and federal governments continue to work closely on the management of the Fitzroy River. Data from the federal government–funded CSIRO assessment will be critical to the development of the water allocation plan. The management plan will also interact with the federal government's National Heritage List to ensure clarity for development approvals and also the protections of the region's environmental and cultural values.