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Lake Eyre Basin 2010 Ministers' Report to the Community

2010

Message from the Ministers

The Australian, Queensland, South Australian and Northern Territory Governments are working together to protect and manage the Lake Eyre Basin.

The Lake Eyre Basin (LEB) Ministerial Forum, which has responsibility for overseeing the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement (the Agreement), is again pleased to provide you with a report on progress in implementing the Agreement.

There can be no doubt that, as detailed in this report, much has happened in the last year to better meet the objectives of the Agreement; in particular, to promote the sustainable management of water and related natural resources of the Basin "through a cooperative approach between community, industry and other stakeholders, and all levels of government." (Clause 2.2 (f) of the Agreement)

The key achievement has been the roll-out of a number of actions under the first year of the Five Year Action Plan 2009 to 2014, which the Ministerial Forum endorsed at its meeting in May 2009. Under the Action Plan - the development of which was itself an excellent example of collaboration by all stakeholders - significant progress has been made in relation to:

  • setting clearer governance arrangements to improve the flow of advice to the Ministerial Forum and to more effectively implement its decisions;
  • improving communication and information sharing between all stakeholders, consistent with the LEB Communication Plan;
  • in particular, developing avenues to enhance participation by Aboriginal people to ensure that their concerns and knowledge are better taken into account in the management of LEB water and related natural resources;
  • developing a plan for the implementation of the LEB Rivers Assessment program; and
  • better understanding LEB data needs and possible data management system(s) to ensure data is widely available for multiple purposes.

While very good progress has been made in this regard, it must also be noted that, over the same period, concerns have been raised in relation to a number of issues such as the potential impact on the Basin as a result of increased activity by extractive industries, the review of the Cooper Creek Water Resource Plan and the possible inclusion of certain LEB rivers under Queensland's Wild Rivers legislation.

It is encouraging that these issues are being discussed in a robust manner and that through channels such as the Ministerial Forum, resolution of these issues is being progressed in a constructive and transparent manner.