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Commonwealth welcomes water from Queensland.

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PW 178/08 Friday 12 September, 2008


The Australian Government today welcomed a significant contribution from Queensland to help improve the health of the Murray-Darling Basin.

The Queensland Government announced it will gift the Commonwealth Government with 10.6 billion litres of unallocated water from across the Queensland section of the Basin including allocations from the Nebine, Moonie, Warrego and Border Rivers.

Last year, the Queensland Government put a halt to a planned auction of eight billion litres of water from the Warrego system. That water will now form part of the gift, along with 1.1 billion litres of unallocated water from the Moonie River, one billion litres in the Nebine River and 500 million litres in the Border Rivers.

Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong, thanked Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and Minister for Natural Resources and Water, Craig Wallace.

“This is an important and welcome contribution to the health of the Murray-Darling Basin,” Senator Wong said.

“The Queensland Government should be congratulated for this decision.

“This represents another win for co-operative federalism - working together to deliver important progress for Australia’s long-term future.”

The announcement follows an agreement between the Australian Government and the New South Wales Government for the purchase of Toorale Station, near Bourke, on Wednesday.

Under this agreement, New South Wales purchased the property for $23.75 million with substantial funding assistance from the Australian Government.

New South Wales will take responsibility for maintaining the land as part of the National Reserve System, while over time the water will be transferred to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.

The agreement delivers a significant boost to environmental flows in the Darling River, while also providing a boost to the New South Wales network of parks and reserves.

It follows the purchase by the New South Wales Government, with significant Commonwealth support, of a property with water entitlement attached immediately adjacent to the Macquarie Marshes Nature Reserve.

On Monday, the Rudd Government’s Northern Basin water purchase tender will commence.