A Queensland Government proposal released for consultation today will revitalise the management of water resources across the state to boost economic development opportunities for industries using water.
Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said he was keen to receive feedback from the public on a consultation Regulatory Impact Statement as part of the government’s strategic review of the Water Act.
“This delivers on a commitment I made in March to undertake a major review of the Water Act 2000 which governs the allocation and management of water resources across Queensland,” Mr Cripps said.
“This review is a significant part of the government’s commitment to grow agriculture and resources and create economic development opportunities for rural and regional Queensland, and water users and industry groups now have a chance to comment on our proposed changes.
“For 14 years under Labor the Water Act was overly prescriptive and made it hard for water users to understand use and secure water resources.
“The consultation provides an opportunity for our stakeholders to have their say on how the Department of Natural Resources and Mines can to ensure the Act delivers security, certainty and flexibility and better economic, social and environmental outcomes for water users.
“I want to provide more certainty for businesses, to encourage and facilitate greater private sector involvement in major water infrastructure developments such as agriculture and resources.”
Mr Cripps said a key aspect of the reforms was delivering a fairer and more consistent framework for regulating the mineral resources sector in relation to groundwater impacts on other water users.
“The government will continue to ensure the mineral resources sector, petroleum and gas sector and other water users maintain reliable and secure access to water and I will continue to engage with the resources and agriculture sectors on the proposed reforms,” he said.
Mr Cripps said the proposed changes would also streamline assessment and approval processes for significant projects to gain access to water by aligning the water approvals process with the environmental impact assessment process, which balances sustainability and economic development opportunities.
Interested parties are encouraged to put forward a submission on the proposed changes by 5pm on 29 July 2014.
The consultation Regulatory Impact Statement and information on how to make a submission are available online at http://www.dnrm.qld.gov.au/water/catchments-planning/water-reform.