The Queensland Government has launched the $3 million Mareeba-Atherton Tablelands Regional Water Assessment which is set to develop a long-term strategic plan for water management across the region.

Queensland Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher, said the Queensland Government was delivering on its commitment to improve water security throughout the state.

“We know that long-term water security and planning are essential for regional Queenslanders as we continue to deliver our economic plan to build back from the global COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Butcher said.

“With the commencement of this Regional Water Assessment, we are keeping our promise to explore ways to unlock the economic potential of our regional areas.”

Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, and Minister for Rural Communities, Mark Furner, said agriculture would continue to be an important economic driver in Queensland.

“Agriculture and primary production is a key pillar of Queensland’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan,” Mr Furner said.

“We moved quickly to declare agriculture an essential industry at the beginning of the pandemic, and it will continue to be at the forefront as we build an exciting economic future for Queensland.

“It’s vital that we support growers in this region and that is exactly what this process is all about.

“The Palaszczuk Government has always had our farmers’ backs and we always will.”

Mr Butcher said local stakeholders would help to identify all water supply options in the region, including mayoral or chief executive officer representatives from Mareeba Shire, Tablelands Regional and Cairns Regional Councils. 

“Water is the lifeblood of our regional communities so it’s crucial we get supply right and unlock the economic potential of Queensland’s food bowls,” Mr Furner said.

“The advisory group is looking forward to identifying the opportunities that will best serve the Mareeba-Atherton Tablelands region.

“Local expertise and experience will be essential to getting the right solutions for each region and we welcome local mayors, council representatives and leading industry bodies and thank them for engaging with us.

“Next steps include engaging with stakeholders to identify the future water demands for the area as well as compiling a comprehensive list of all relevant previous investigations and projects in order to build on that knowledge.“

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