All future water planning and legislation will be compelled to consider pressing issues of climate change and the needs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples’ values under new laws passed by the State Government.
The new laws will require government planners and any future Minister to take potential climate change effects into account when developing and approving the state’s water plans.
The changes also now require the values and interests of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders to be considered.
State Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham told Parliament that farmers could use information about the likely impact of climate change to inform on farm decisions about water use.
“The Department of Environment and Science is working on modelling to ensure that farmers have the best available information on climate risk to water availability to enhance their decision making,” he said.
The legislation will also lock in the consideration of Aboriginal and Torres Strat Islander peoples’ values.
“The Queensland Government has played a leadership role in enhancing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ involvement in water planning,” Dr Lynham said.
“Almost 40 per cent of submissions received in response to our draft Condamine-Balonne water plan and draft Border Rivers and Moonie water plan in July 2018 were from Aboriginal people.”
The bill also makes previously locked-down water supplies available to farmers.
Dr Lynham said the changes made water reserved for future infrastructure like dams and weirs available now for up to three years.
“The state’s 23 water plans currently set aside about 990,000 megalitres of water as strategic infrastructure reserves,” he said.