The Queensland Government has announced chair positions for the local management of eight rural irrigation schemes with the aim to use local knowledge to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

Queensland Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply Mark Bailey said reliable and well managed water supply was vital to rural communities and industries given that much of rural Queensland was drought affected.

“The people who know the most about their water supply are locals,” Mr Bailey said.

The appointed chairs are:

  • Annette Smith: Emerald
  • Geoff Kavanagh: Eton
  • Luke Stower: St George
  • Elizabeth Alexander: Theodore
  • Maurice Maughan: Bundaberg
  • Mario Barbagallo: Burdekin-Haughton
  • Joe Moro: Mareeba-Dimbulah
  • Mr Geoff Wormwell : Lower Mary

Mr Bailey said Queensland’s recently announced 2016-17 state budget committed a further $6.9 million to provide total funding of $8.9 million for Stage 3 of the Local Management Arrangements Project.

Stage 3 involves agreeing to final terms for transitioning ownership and control of the Theodore, St George, Eton and Emerald schemes to local management and control.

“These changes will empower local communities and encourage the growth of Queensland’s agricultural industry,” Mr Bailey said.

“Local management is designed to use local knowledge and know how to reduce costs, increase productivity of the irrigation scheme, and add value to our agricultural sector.

“Locals from the Burdekin-Haughton, Mareeba and Lower Mary schemes are also carrying out further investigation and are preparing revised business proposals on how those schemes could operate under local management.”

Mr Bailey said the Local Management Arrangements Project empowers local communities by allowing local growers to control key water infrastructure.

“This is a unique opportunity for the schemes that transition to local management to be owned and operated by their users, ensuring long-term productivity and contribution to our regional and rural economies,” Mr Bailey said.

The appointments of the remaining board members are currently being finalised.

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