Water allocation and management is expected to be made quicker and simpler as part of a review into the Water Act 2000.
Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said it delivers on the election promise to grow agriculture as one of the four pillars of the economy.
“We are committed to ensuring the state’s water resources are used responsibly and productively for the benefit of all Queenslanders, while retaining certainty and security of water entitlements,” Mr Cripps said.
“Access to secure water resources is critical in creating a sustainable irrigated agricultural industry and supporting economic development in the other economic pillars: construction, resources and tourism.
“The Water Act is more than thirteen years old and this review will ensure Queensland’s water legislation keeps pace with advances in water management, government service delivery and technology.
“The previous Labor government refused to simplify the Act and was more set on increasing regulation and making it harder to operate.
“Our reforms will reduce red tape and build on the common-sense improvements already delivered last year, such as water licence holders no longer needing to apply to renew their licences.”
Mr Cripps said the review would identify opportunities to streamline water planning.
“It is important Queensland has an efficient and responsive structure to deliver planning outcomes through robust science and strong community engagement,” he said.
“The review will also consider ways to establish new and enhance existing water markets across the state, provide security for water users and allow them to make better informed water investment decisions.
“Increasing access to available water through markets and simplifying unallocated releases, will provide more certainty for developers and encourage greater private sector involvement in water projects.”
Mr Cripps said the priority areas for reform included:
- Delivering a relevant and progressive purpose for the Water Act
- Increasing security, certainty and flexibility for water users
- Reviewing and streamlining water resource planning processes
- Accelerating the release of unallocated water reserves and enabling responsible development of the State’s water resources
- Identifying ways to further establish open water markets across Queensland
- Managing the impact of the resources sector on groundwater
- Other reforms aimed at reducing regulation and simplifying requirements for entities and trusts
“The government will work with water users to improve water management and there will be the opportunity for everyone to contribute to the review over the next few months.”
More information is available at www.dnrm.qld.gov.au.