- Palaszczuk Labor government stifles agricultural development and jobs on Lower Cape York Peninsula
- Labor releases just a fraction of 467,000 megalitres of available water released for agriculture from the Gilbert Catchment area
- Labor approach is anti-agriculture and anti-northern development
Almost 11 months after the EIS process for the IFED project lapsed, the Palaszczuk Government has failed to release water for economic development opportunities in the Gilbert River catchment.
Despite promising to release water after the EIS process was dealt with, Labor has continued to deny potential water users access to 467,000 megalitres of water in the Gulf Water Resource Plan.
Shadow Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps said locals should also be anxious about the proposal to release only 18.4 per cent of the available water in the Gilbert River catchment.
Mr Cripps said Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham announced that only 85,000 MLs would be available at a fixed price sale in late August 2017 following a consultation process.
“Minister Lynham told the estimates committee last week he had consulted with Etheridge Mayor Warren Devlin and local MPs about making only a fraction of the water available,” Mr Cripps said.
“Mayor Devlin and Katter Party MP Robbie Katter, who represents the communities in this catchment, need to clarify if they endorse this approach to releasing water in the Gilbert.
“Minister Lynham says this fixed price sale approach is based on recent prices for water allocations released in the Flinders River catchment, but the Gilbert River catchment is a different system.
“The release of a large volume of unallocated water has not previously occurred in the Gilbert and the logic behind using the price achieved through a tender process in the Flinders is not clear.”
Mr Cripps said he wondered how the current demand for water in the Gilbert catchment could be properly tested without a full release of unallocated reserves through a tender process.
“By restricting the release of unallocated water to less than 20 per cent of what is available in the Gilbert, the long held hopes and dreams of many landholders in this catchment may go begging,” he said.
“This nonsense about holding back unallocated water for future shovel-ready projects is a red herring – there is plenty of scope for applicants to show their capability in a normal tender process.”
Mr Cripps said he feared the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s anti agriculture and anti-northern development agenda was behind the move to restrict the release of water in the Gilbert catchment.