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Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement

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The Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement brings together the Australian, Queensland, South Australian and Northern Territory Governments to ensure the sustainability of the Lake Eyre Basin river systems, in particular to avoid or eliminate cross-border impacts.

The Agreement was signed by Ministers of the Australian, Queensland and South Australian governments in October 2000, and has been enacted in the Australian, Queensland and South Australian Parliaments. The Northern Territory signed in 2004.

The Lake Eyre Basin Agreement currently applies to:

  • the Cooper Creek system (including the Thomson and Barcoo Rivers);
  • the Georgina and Diamantina River systems within Queensland and South Australia, ending at Lake Eyre; and
  • the Northern Territory portion of the Basin.

The Agreement provides for the sustainable management of the water and related natural resources associated with cross-border river systems in the Lake Eyre Basin to avoid downstream impacts on associated environmental, economic and social values.  It also provides for the development or adoption, and implementation of Policies and Strategies concerning water and related natural resources in the Lake Eyre Basin Agreement Area to avoid or eliminate so far as reasonably practicable adverse cross-border impacts.

The Agreement incorporates a number of guiding principles that recognise the significance of the Lake Eyre Basin for ecological, pastoral, cultural and tourism reasons, and the need to make decisions which will foster ecologically sustainable development using a precautionary approach and take account of the significant knowledge and experience of local communities. .

Under the Agreement, the Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum is required to review the condition of all watercourses and catchments within the Lake Eyre Basin Agreement Area. The Lake Eyre Basin Rivers Assessment will examine the condition of the catchments, including the rivers, floodplains, overflow channels, lakes and wetlands in the area covered by the Lake Eyre Basin Agreement.

Upcoming Review of the Agreement in 2017

Under the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement (the Agreement) the Ministerial Forum, comprising of Australian, State and Territory Ministers responsible for water, must perform a review of the Agreement every 10 years. The last review of the Agreement occurred in 2008.

The review will look at the operation of the Agreement and the extent to which the objectives identified in the Agreement have been achieved and consider possible changes to improve the effectiveness of the Agreement, reflect new knowledge, emerging issues and institutional frameworks.

The review will be performed by the Australian, Queensland, South Australian and Northern Territory governments in consultation with those who live in, work in, or who have business or other interests in the Basin.

Further information will be published on this website as it becomes available.