GABSI Success Needs On-Ground Help

Personal, on-the-ground assistance needs to be returned for Longreach and Charleville producers to ensure Queensland’s success in winning funding in Round Four of the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative (GABSI).

Member for Gregory, Lachlan Millar, said he has written to the Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham, to brief him on the experiences of western landholders in Gregory, asking that he consider restoring on-ground assistance and advice to these participants.

“Round Four funding will be allocated on a competitive tender basis so it will be vital for Queensland to demonstrate that we can maximise the outcomes achieved for every dollar expended,” he said.

Mr Millar said the competitive tender process would mean that Queensland will need to bid for federal government GABSI funding against New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

“It was the strong lobbying of our local people which brought this funding back to the table and they are most concerned to have every chance to receive some of it,” said Mr Millar.

“I have been told that when the scheme commenced, landholders had the benefit of locally based advice and support in both Longreach and Charleville. However, this was wound back so that in recent times all the support staff were based in Toowoomba.

“Landholders in Muttaburra or Isisford can drive to Longreach to have their issues addressed face-to-face, but they can’t be expected to drive all the way to Toowoomba. At the same time, it is this face- to- face assistance which can make all the difference in achieving success,” he said.

“In our part of the world, the GABSI program is vital for our environmental health, sustainability and productivity. There is no-one who doesn’t want it to succeed and on-the-ground staff would help us reach that goal.”