On 27 July 2018 the Commonwealth Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon. David Littleproud, on behalf of the Great Artesian Basin Ministers released the draft Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan 2018 for public consultation.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has invited the local government sector to participate in the consultation process that has now commenced.
The Great Artesian Basin is one of the largest underground freshwater resources in the world. It underlies approximately 22% of Australia – an area of over 1.7 million square kilometres beneath the arid and semi-arid parts of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. This Basin is highly valued and supports a range of industries, communities, cultural values and the environment. In some parts of the Basin it is the only reliable source of freshwater available for drinking. It is estimated that the Basin supports the generation of nearly $13 billion of production for Australia each year.
The draft Plan 2018 was developed by the Australian, state and territory governments in consultation with the Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee who represent communities, landholders, water users and the various industries operating in the Basin. The new Plan will set the future vision for the Great Artesian Basin and be implemented over a 15-year period.
The draft Plan 2018 builds upon the objectives, outcomes and activities of the previous Strategic Management Plan which had been in operation since 2000. The draft Plan 2018 sets out seven guiding principles for future water management in the Great Artesian Basin. These principles cover coordinated governance, maintaining the health of the Basin, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural values, judicious use of water, information and knowledge management and educating water users on the Basin.
The previous Strategic Management Plan was reviewed in 2015 by Australian, state and territory governments in consultation with the Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee. A review report was released in August 2015, Future Directions for the Management of the Great Artesian Basin and is available at gabcc.gov.au. A range of findings were identified in the report which have been considered as part of developing the draft Plan 2018.
Consultation will consist of a public on-line consultation process and meetings with stakeholders. The consultation process will close on 5 October 2018.
More information on the on-line consultation process can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website at https://haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/great-artesian-basin.
If you have any questions regarding the draft Plan 2018 please contact the Great Artesian Basin Secretariat at email@example.com.
The feedback provided will be considered when finalising the new Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan 2018.