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Lake Eyre Basin 2014-2015 Ministers' Report to the Community

Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum, 2016

Message from the Ministerial Forum

Under the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement, the Australian, Queensland, South Australian and Northern Territory governments are working together to protect and manage the Lake Eyre Basin's water and related natural resources.

The Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum is pleased to provide the 'Lake Eyre Basin 2014-15 Ministers' Report to the Community'. This report includes an update on programmes and activities implemented within the Basin under the Lake Eyre Basin (LEB) Intergovernmental Agreement, as well as reports on projects delivered by our natural resource management and research partners, all of which are having positive benefits for the Basin.

Under the Agreement, the Australian, Queensland, South Australian and Northern Territory governments oversee the implementation of policies and strategies concerning water and related natural resources in the Agreement Area, to avoid or eliminate, so far as reasonably practicable, adverse cross-border impacts.

The past year has been one of solid progress. The Lake Eyre Basin Rivers Assessment (LEBRA) monitoring programme, now in its fifth year, continues to collect valuable data on fish, water quality and hydrology from approximately 53 sites across the Basin.

Waterholes play a vital role in LEB river systems, and data collected under the LEBRA programme assists in our appreciation of the condition of the Basin.

A trial delivery of regional facilitator services was undertaken from January 2015 to June 2015 as a way of informing the Agreement partners of key and emerging issues in the Basin. The facilitator service was hosted by Desert Channels Queensland Group (DCQ) in Longreach, on behalf of the natural resource management (NRM) agencies located in the Basin - Natural Resources SA Arid Lands, Territory NRM (NT) and DCQ.

The Ministerial Forum has commenced planning for the next State of the Basin report, an assessment of the condition of all watercourses and catchments within the Agreement Area. The assessment will be independently performed, with opportunities for stakeholder input at various stages of the process. Data collected from the LEBRA will provide invaluable information for this report.

The Ministerial Forum appreciates the dedication and work of the members of the Community Advisory Committee and the Scientific Advisory Panel who provide the Agreement partners with important community and scientific advice. We look forward to working with members in the year ahead.

We also acknowledge and thank Mr Angus Emmott who retired as Chair of the Community Advisory Committee in January 2015. He has served the Committee and the Ministerial Forum with passion, enthusiasm and professionalism since 2003. We wish Angus all the very best in his future endeavours.

Lastly, the Ministerial Forum welcomes Mr Andrew Drysdale as the new Chair of the Community Advisory Committee. Mr Drysdale has over 30 years experience working on natural resource management issues and leading multi-disciplinary community-based organisations in regional Queensland.