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Thursday, 6 March 2014
Page: 1977

Mr COULTON (ParkesThe Nationals Chief Whip) (11:28): I would like to speak this morning about the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative, otherwise known as GABSI. The Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative was a commitment over 15 years in three five-year periods starting in 1999. My predecessor in this place, John Anderson, was the minister at the time and brought that into being. The Great Artesian Basin is the largest and deepest artesian basin in the world, stretching over 1,700,000 square kilometres. It covers 22 per cent of Australia, including New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. The basin provides the only reliable source of fresh water for much of Australia.

Beginning in the 1950s regulation required that all new bores be fitted with control flows, and each state implemented its own programs to upgrade and control bores. However, due to inadequate technology and lack of commitment from governments, the programs were largely ineffective. The GABSI was implemented in 1999 in response to inefficiencies—

A division having been called in the House of Representatives

Sitting suspended from 11:29 to 12:44

Question agreed to.

Federation Chamber adjourned at 12:44