The Palaszczuk Government is ready to put up to $4 million on the table to continue Australia’s major water-saving scheme, the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative.
Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham has $4 million to take to the negotiating table as state and Commonwealth governments prepare to nut out the detail to extend the long-running successful scheme.
“This is a scheme that has invested more than $187 million into bore repair, capping and piping works in this State alone, with the Queensland Government investing more than $66 million,” Dr Lynham said.
“More than 200 000 million litres per year, savings that stabilise and increase groundwater pressure in many parts of the basin, benefiting landholders, town water supplies and the natural springs fed by basin water.
“Queensland’s commitment to capping and piping of free flowing bores and bore drains remains as solid as it has always been.
“Over160 uncontrolled bores and 5500 kilometres of bore drains still remain to be rehabilitated to protect this important national resource.
“Now it’s time for the Commonwealth to put their offer on the table so we can work out the details and put these funds to work.”
GABSI is a partnership between the Commonwealth and state governments and landholders, seeking to address declining water pressure in the Great Artesian Basin.
It provides financial assistance to landholders to rehabilitate water-wasting uncontrolled flowing bores and to replace the associated open bore drains with piped-water reticulation systems.
Since 1999 when GABSI started, the Queensland Government alone has contributed $66.6 million, which has contributed to saving more than 200,000 megalitres of water in the basin.
The program was due to end in mid-2017. In November 2016 and in April 2017 Dr Lynham wrote to the Commonwealth, seeking an extension to the program.