Interim board looking at Bundy irrigation management

MEMBER for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey welcomed today's news that an interim board is looking at options for local management of the Bundaberg channel irrigation scheme.

The interim board will investigate how to transfer distribution assets from the State Government to entities owned and managed by local water users who use the scheme.

"The Bundaberg irrigation scheme is best managed by people who use it, and the Newman government is working hard to make sure it happens," Mr Dempsey said.

"I welcome this step that will see an interim board work towards the development of a commercial business plan that will give Bundaberg irrigators more control of their channel scheme.

Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle said the various regional chairs had met as the Local Management Arrangements Working Group (LMA WG) last week.

"The government is committed to building agriculture as one of the four pillars of Queensland's economy and the next stage will show whether irrigation reform can contribute to our vision," Mr McArdle said.

"The government will only proceed to a local management model if it is clearly in the interests of the irrigators, taxpayers and the State.

"The proposals need to demonstrate how the channel schemes could realise significant benefits from local management and provide improved economic and environmental outcomes."

Leader of the project team and Independent Chair of the LMA WG, Ms Leith Boully, said she was confident the boards would be able to develop business plans that showed local management could be successful.

"While the due diligence process is complex and challenging, the Chairs and their boards are pragmatic, competent and positive about the opportunity that a move to local management offers," Ms Boully said.

Key dates:

  • July/August/September 2013: Legal, engineering and financial due diligence conducted
  • October/November 2013: Business planning and proposals developed
  • 30 November 2013: Business proposals submitted
  • December/January 2014: Final report prepared for Government by independent project team on the case for local management
  • February/March 2014: Government assessment of business proposals and case for local management
  • April/May 2014: Government decision on Local Management Arrangements

To be part of the process, contact the board or find more information about local management for channel irrigation schemes at

The chairs and interim boards of all eight Sunwater schemes - Theodore, Bundaberg, Burdekin-Haughton, Emerald, Eton, Lower Mary, Mareeba-Dimbulah and St George - are investigating local management options.

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