BASIN PLANNING: Maranoa MP David Littleproud speaks with Dirranbandi irrigators about the future of the basin.
BASIN PLANNING: Maranoa MP David Littleproud speaks with Dirranbandi irrigators about the future of the basin. Contributed

Basin audit focuses on compliance issues

THE Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council are hopeful a newly released report will help to dispel water compliance concerns across Queensland.

The report, titled the Independent Audit of Non-Urban Water Measurement and Compliance, was tabled at the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council on Water Reform in Canberra last Friday.

A hot topic on the agenda was the illegal taking of water and non-compliance on the Barwon Darling river system in NSW.

Queensland Farmer's Federation President Stuart Armitage said the audit made recommendations for reform in a number of areas.

"The audit has focussed on the need for significant improvement of compliance and information management systems in the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy,” Mr Armitage said.

"Implementation of a metering standard for both supplemented and unsupplemented water users backed by adequate checks for installation and accuracy of meters was also recommended.

"QFF recognises the importance of good metering and responsive irrigation water use information systems to help government manage compliance and ensure irrigators are informed”.

Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said the plan would ensure the health of the basin.

"Earlier this year I commissioned an independent audit, which has specifically identified areas in which Queensland can do better.

"The audit identified that our systems and resourcing require urgent attention, we need to introduce robust governance of measurement and compliance and implement a new policy for water metering.

"I acknowledge we need to lift our game and as Minister I am committed to addressing these matters.”

Balonne deputy mayor Fiona Gaske said the council always supported compliance.

"We support the commonwealth and state departments working to ensure compliance, and believe in its importance for the management of water on farms and for the safety of the environment,” she said.

"The Balonne shire and the council are, and have always been, supportive of irrigators who are working within their respective plans.”