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
(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)?
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
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
(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.