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Northern taskforce gets new agenda.



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Media Contact: Kate Sieper 0488 484 689

M e d i a R e l e a s e THE HON. WARREN SNOWDON MP Federal Member for Lingiari 29th September 2008 NORTHERN TASKFORCE GETS NEW AGENDA The member for Lingiari, the Hon. Warren Snowdon MP, today welcomed the new focus on sustainable economic development for the Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce. The Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce has been overhauled and given new membership and new terms of reference; tackling not only the economic, but social and environmental challenges of northern development. “Economic development in the Top End has been plagued by a lack of science and understanding of the northern environment, limited infrastructure, high transport costs, and a failure to appreciate social and cultural imperatives,” said Mr Snowdon. “Developing the North is about more than water and arable land. It is about supporting and drawing on local and Indigenous knowledge. “The new terms of reference and the diverse membership of the taskforce offer a real potential to build strong, sustainable Northern communities.” “Free from politicians, the expertise from business, science, conservation, agricultural, pastoral and mining sectors promise comprehensive, balanced and independent outcomes.” Under a revised timetable, the taskforce will present a mid-term report to Government by the end of this year, and its final report by December 2009. “In 1949 Billy Hughes commented that scientists found 90 per cent of the Northern Territory was NBG, No Bloody Good,” said Mr Snowdon. “Territorians know otherwise, and I am confident this re-invigorated task force will create genuine opportunities for sustainable enterprise.”

Media Contact: Kate Sieper 0488 484 689

Taskforce membership:

• New Chair - Mr Joe Ross, Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia • Mr Richard Ah Mat, Non-Executive Director, Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation • Mr David Baffsky AO, Honorary Chairman, Accor Asia Pacific • Dr Stuart Blanch, Manager of Northern Landscapes, World Wildlife Fund • Mr David Crombie, President, National Farmers Federation • Ms Elaine Gardiner, Chair, Ord Irrigation Cooperative • Dr Rosemary Hill, Vice-President, Australian Conservation Foundation

and Senior Scientist, CSIRO - Sustainable Ecosystems • Dr Andrew Johnson, Group Executive - Environment, CSIRO • Ms Shirley McPherson, Chair, Indigenous Land Corporation • Mr Lachlan Murdoch, Chief Executive, Illyria PL • Mr Michael Roche, Chief Executive, Queensland Resources Council • Ms Terry Underwood OAM, Riveren Station, NT • Mr Walynbuma Wunungmurra, Chair, Northern Land Council; and • Prof Bob Wasson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Charles Darwin

University.

Terms of Reference for the Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce

A better understanding of opportunities for new sustainable economic development in the north that are based on water resource availability, and the potential impact of such development on the underlying water balance and water quality, and on the natural environment, existing water users and the broader community.

For each of the key surface and groundwater systems and basins within the Timor Sea and Gulf of Carpentaria drainage divisions, and that part of the North East Coast drainage division north of Cairns, the Taskforce will:

1. Identify, consistent with the provisions of the National Water Initiative, the sustainable capacity of the river systems and/or drainage basins to support increased consumptive water use; 2. Identify, consistent with sustainable resource use principles and

practices, economic development and diversification opportunities (including non-consumptive uses) which rely on access to locally or regionally significant water resources; 3. Identify the potential impact of such development opportunities on the natural environment and other users and the broader community; 4. Identify incentive, market, regulatory or planning instruments that could be used to facilitate, control or influence development, such that it proceeds in a manner consistent with the principles of the National Water Initiative; and 5. Recommend governance arrangements for the effective management of surface and groundwater resources that cross jurisdictional boundaries.