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Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum communique twelfth meeting - Draft Joint Communique

Date Published: 
Monday, 20 October 2014 - 2:45pm

Senator The Hon Simon Birmingham
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment

The Hon Ian Hunter MLC
South Australian Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation

The Hon Andrew Cripps MP
Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines

Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum Meeting 12 - 17 October 2014 - Brisbane

Work to commence on a Lake Eyre Basin condition assessment State of the Basin Report

Members of the Lake Eyre Basin (LEB) Ministerial Forum have agreed that a key focus for governments over the coming two years will be to review and reset the underlying policies which govern the cross border management of the Lake Eyre Basin.

The Forum comprises the Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territory and Australian governments and is responsible for implementing the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement (the Agreement).

The Agreement provides a mechanism for cooperative and sustainable management of water and related natural resources in the Lake Eyre Basin Agreement Area"”an area that covers over one-sixth of Australia's land mass.

Ministers welcomed the joint 2012/13 report from the states on the Lake Eyre Basin Rivers Assessment (LEBRA) Monitoring Program. Data collected over four years on fish, water quality and hydrology at around 53 sites under the LEBRA monitoring programme will be used to inform the Lake Eyre Basin State of the Basin Report.

The LEBRA report indicates that in 2012/13:

  • Water flow within the Basin during this period was less than in previous LEBRA reporting rounds;
  • A number of sites displayed extended dry conditions;
  • There was no evidence of any water quality issues;
  • Fish population was less than in previous years; and
  • Exotic fish species accounted for less than one per cent of the total fish

The LEB Ministerial Forum agreed that a review of the policies and current governance arrangements is important to ensure that the policies and strategies within the Agreement are current and implemented in line with best practice.

Ministers decided that work on preparing a Lake Eyre Basin State of the Basin Report (the Report) to assess the condition of watercourses and catchments in the Lake Eyre Basin Agreement Area would commence in 2014/15

The Report will help to identify if and how conditions may have changed since the first State of the Basin Report in 2008. Where changes were identified, the Report would explore the causes of the change and its likely ongoing direction.

Ministers expressed appreciation for the work of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and the Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) in providing quality advice to the Ministers over the past year.

Ministers agreed to new appointments to the committees - Ms Sharon Lucas, Ms Christine Doyle and Mr Peter Douglas to the CAC and Mr Tim Ransley to the SAP. Ministers also agreed to the reappointment of Ms Leonie Nunn and Ms Janet Brook to the CAC and Professor Angela Arthington to the SAP.

Ministers thanked Mr Steve Morton (SAP Chair) who will continue as Chair for a further term and the CAC Chair, Mr Angus Emmott, commending him for his dedication and commitment to the sustainable management of the Lake Eyre Basin and his support to the Ministerial Forum in his role as Chair since 2003.

For more information on the Lake Eyre Basin and the Ministerial Forum, visit www.lakeeyrebasin.gov.au

Parliamentary Secretary Birmingham's office: (02) 6277 3198
Minister Hunter's office: (08) 8463 5680
Minister Cripps' office: (07) 3719 7360
Minister Westra van Holthe's office: (08) 8928 6540