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  • New water strategy to unlock Cape York’s potential

    18 July 2014

    Landholders in Cape York will have more opportunities to access water to support future development in their region thanks to a new strategy released by the Queensland Government today.

    Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps said the Strategy for Delivering Water Resource Management in Cape York would ensure the region's water is used responsibly and productively.

    "We have a strong plan to deliver a brighter future for Queensland by supporting growth in regional communities and growing our four-pillar economy," Mr Cripps said.

    "The new strategy is great news for the Cape York as it will provide certainty and confidence for existing water users and for those who plan to access water in the future.

    "The strategy allows us to unlock the Cape's true potential by supporting sustainable development opportunities for indigenous Queenslanders and the agriculture, tourism, resources and construction sectors."

    Member for Cook David Kempton welcomed the announcement and said it would deliver a number of economic and social benefits to the region.

    "The strategy represents the start of the water resource planning process, which provides a clear pathway for providing increased access to water, supporting responsible development, while ensuring community water supply and environmental flows are maintained," Mr Kempton said.

    "This will help support industry and the community as more landholders will be able to use the vital resource to support business growth."

    Mr Cripps said the water strategy supported the Queensland Agriculture Strategy and the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning's Cape York Regional Plan.

    "My department has already completed a number of short-term actions outlined in the water strategy to ensure water continues to be available while water resource planning activities are undertaken," he said.

    "For example, on May 28 we lifted the Cape York water moratorium limiting water-related development in areas earmarked by the previous government to become wild river areas.

    "This decision will enable new water users, who were previously locked out, to access water resources and pursue development opportunities, without impacting on existing water licence holders.

    "A statement of proposals will be released later this year to give industry and the community the opportunity to have a say on what approach should be taken to manage water through a Cape York water resource plan.

    "This will ensure that for the first time, Cape York will be covered by dedicated water management plans.

    "We will also align water rights in special agreement acts with the Water Act 2000 to bring water resource management under a single legislative framework."

    The Cape York Water Strategy covers the Archer, Coleman, Ducie, Embley, Endeavour, Holroyd, Jacky Jacky, Jardine, Jeannie, Lockhart, Normanby, Olive-Pascoe, Stewart, Watson and Wenlock basins.

    Further consultation will take place with communities and stakeholders during the development of the Cape York water resource plan.

    For more information visit: www.dnrm.qld.gov.au/water/catchments-planning/draft-strategy-cape-york

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