Wa­ter worry makes a splash

Stanthorpe Border Post - - NEWS - Sherele Moody Sherele.Moody@news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

SOUTH­ERN Downs

Re­gional Coun­cil wants lo­cal gov­ern­ments to have more con­trol over al­lo­ca­tion of wa­ter re­sources across their dis­tricts.

The coun­cil also wants the State Gov­ern­ment to con­sider aban­don­ing river im­prove­ment trusts or to give coun­cils the trusts’ re­sources, be­cause lo­cal gov­ern­ments are bet­ter placed to make de­ci­sions about lo­cal wa­ter­ways.

The ideas will be raised at the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion Queens­land con­fer­ence.

Coun­cil plan­ning and prop­erty port­fo­lio spokesman coun­cil­lor Neil Meik­le­john said it was vi­tal that coun­cils were in­volved in catch­ment plan­ning for sur­face and un­der­ground wa­ter man­age­ment.

Cr Meik­le­john said the coun­cil had to lobby the State Gov­ern­ment to let it have a say in the con­sul­ta­tion process for re­gional op­er­a­tion plans re­lat­ing to the Bor­der Rivers and Moonee catch­ments.

“Coun­cil found it quite dif­fi­cult to get en­gage­ment in the re­view de­spite be­ing one of the big­ger stake­hold­ers,” he said.

“We were al­most for­got­ten in the process and we don’t think that’s good enough.

“We’re ba­si­cally say­ing that when the State Gov­ern­ment for­malises catch­ment plan­ning for sur­face and un­der­ground wa­ter man­age­ment, that lo­cal gov­ern­ment should be for­mally at the ta­ble for those pro­cesses.”

Mean­while, the coun­cil wants the gov­ern­ment to re­assess the value of river trusts across the state.

Each trust is gen­er­ally run by small boards who are legally re­quired to pre­pare strate­gic plans but many trusts had not re­vised their plans in 10 years.

The coun­cil wants the State Gov­ern­ment to com­pel the trusts to un­der­take strate­gic plans that can be re­sourced by lo­cal gov­ern­ments over the long term or as­sign their “func­tions and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties” to a state agency.

“We are say­ing are the trusts still rel­e­vant?” Cr Meik­le­john said.

The State Gov­ern­ment re­fused to ad­dress the con­cerns raised by the coun­cil on this is­sue.

MORE CON­TROL: Coun­cil is ask­ing for more in­volve­ment in lo­cal wa­ter re­sourc­ing.

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