QFF wel­comes wa­ter au­dit re­port find­ings

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Rural Weekly -

THE Queens­land Farm­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion has wel­comed the Fi­nal Re­port of the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment’s In­de­pen­dent Au­dit of Non-Ur­ban Wa­ter Mea­sure­ment and Com­pli­ance.

The re­port was tabled at the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Min­is­te­rial Coun­cil on Wa­ter Re­form, which met in Canberra last Fri­day to dis­cuss progress and the next steps to sup­port full im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Basin Plan.

QFF Pres­i­dent Stu­art Ar­mitage said the au­dit has made rec­om­men­da­tions for re­form in a num­ber of ar­eas to en­sure that Queens­land had an ad­e­quate sys­tem in place to man­age ir­ri­ga­tion wa­ter not just in the Queens­land catch­ments of the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin but across all ir­ri­ga­tion ar­eas in the state.

“The au­dit has fo­cussed on the need for sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment of com­pli­ance and in­for­ma­tion man­age­ment sys­tems in the De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources, Mines and En­ergy,” he said.

“Im­ple­men­ta­tion of a me­ter­ing standard for both sup­ple­mented and un­sup­ple­mented wa­ter users backed by ad­e­quate checks for in­stal­la­tion and ac­cu­racy of me­ters was also rec­om­mended.

“QFF recog­nises the im­por­tance of good me­ter­ing and re­spon­sive ir­ri­ga­tion wa­ter use in­for­ma­tion sys­tems to help gov­ern­ment man­age com­pli­ance and en­sure ir­ri­ga­tors are in­formed about their wa­ter en­ti­tle­ments and their use of avail­able sup­ply.”

Mr Ar­mitage said the State Gov­ern­ment made a com­mit­ment to im­ple­ment a re­form pro­gram to address au­dit rec­om­men­da­tions but there are no de­tails on how the sig­nif­i­cant costs of im­ple­ment­ing the state-wide pro­gram will be met.

“Agree­ment reached in Canberra last week on fund­ing for wa­ter me­ters to improve com­pli­ance only deals with the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin,” he said.

“Queens­land ir­ri­ga­tors do not have the ca­pac­ity to shoul­der added costs while try­ing to cope with ris­ing elec­tric­ity charges and new ru­ral wa­ter pric­ing.”

“The Queens­land Gov­ern­ment now needs to work closely with QFF, its in­dus­try mem­bers and lo­cal ir­ri­ga­tion com­mu­ni­ties to address how best to im­ple­ment the re­form pack­age with­out com­pro­mis­ing ir­ri­ga­tion busi­nesses and their pro­duc­tiv­ity.”

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