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Queensland’s western rivers

In 2013, the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, in consultation with the Western Rivers Advisory Panel, developed alternative strategies for protecting Queensland's western rivers while allowing sustainable development to proceed.

The alternative strategies apply to the Georgina and Diamantina rivers and Cooper Creek within the Queensland section of the Lake Eyre Basin. The strategies have replaced wild river declarations which have now been repealed.

Western rivers strategies

The strategies deliver a balanced approach to the management of Queensland's western rivers systems that protects important environmental values, supports existing industries and provides opportunities for future, sustainable economic growth.

The alternative strategies for Queensland's western rivers are:

  • provide for water trading in the Cooper Creek catchment to allow for small-scale irrigation opportunities without increasing the volume of water able to be taken from the system
  • provide for the establishment of a Channel Country Protection Area
  • prevent open-cut mining in the Channel Country Protection Area
  • with the exception of low-risk activities subject to existing eligibility criteria and standard conditions, ensure petroleum and gas development in the Channel Country Protection Area is subject to site-specific assessment and mandatory conditions
  • apply mandatory conditions to resource activity approvals to preserve beneficial flooding (e.g. ensure linear infrastructure does not interfere with overland flows)
  • ensure that weed and pest management remains a priority for natural resource management bodies in the Lake Eyre Basin.

Water trading in the Cooper Creek catchment was given effect by the Cooper Creek resource operations plan in November 2013.

The department is working closely with natural resource management bodies in western Queensland in relation to priorities for weed and pest management.

Other key strategies have been implemented through the Regional Planning Interests Act 2014 and Regional Planning Interests Regulation 2014 which is administered by the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning.

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Last updated: 2 December 2016


The Department of Natural Resources and Mines is an economic development agency that enables the productive and responsible use of our natural resources – water, land, mineral and energy resources – to generate wealth and prosperity for current and future generations of Queenslanders.

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