Yesterday’s announcement by Water Minister Mark Bailey that the State Government will proceed with the transfer of the ownership and control of the water delivery channels for Emerald Irrigation Area to local hands has been welcomed by the Member for Gregory, Lachlan Millar.
“This is a major win for Emerald and for Central Queensland agriculture. Over the longer term, the major benefit for Emerald is that the long-term sustainability of the Emerald Irrigation Area has been strengthened,” said Mr Millar.
“Irrigation farming is very important in ensuring the economic diversity of Emerald so that we don’t have all our eggs in one basket, as the current mining downturn and drought is showing us all too clearly.
“I sincerely thank all the committee members for their efforts in promoting this change so successfully and congratulate them on a job well done.”
Mr Millar said the proposal had been around since at least the 1990s but gained serious attention under the LNP because of the Government’s commitment to expanding Queensland’s agricultural productivity.
“By 2014 the hard work had been done so I was a little concerned that the proposal may become lost during the transition to the Palaszczuk Government. I congratulate Minister Bailey for continuing the process and look forward to seeing the formal arrangements put in place as fast as possible,” said Mr Millar.
Mr Millar said he believed local irrigation farmers would bring a motivation and practical expertise to the operation of the channels that would result in major savings in water and operational costs being achieved.
“Efficiencies is a vague word for very real benefits. The only other way you could reap these benefits is by building additional water storages. We can achieve many of those benefits by improving the operation of our existing infrastructure. As the son of an irrigation farming family, I know our farmers are constantly driving efficiency and best practice on the farm. Local management arrangements will let them bring the same focus to water delivery,” he said.