A critical water alliance has been formed across borders between five Queensland councils and one New South Wales shire.
The inaugural meeting of the water alliance was attended by representatives of Toowoomba Regional Council, Western Downs Regional Council, Southern Downs Regional Council, the Goondiwindi Regional Council, Lockyer Valley Regional Council and Tenterfield Shire Council in New South Wales.
Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) Mayor, Paul Antonio, said that industry was saying that water infrastructure is critical to future growth in the region.
“The new alliance will purely focus on water security for the Southern Inland Queensland and New South Wales Border Region,” Mr Antonio said.
“The inaugural meeting agreed that the priority for the group was the mapping of our current water situation and potential future options.
“The initial desktop analysis would then lead to developing a list of priority projects that the alliance could pursue on a needs basis.
“We need to know where we are before we know where our water future progresses to.”
Mr Antonio said that cross border issues that exclude interstate water sharing needed to be addressed.
“Future meetings would include discussions with those in a position to find water security solutions for problems that straddled both sides of the border,” Mr Antonio said.
“We would welcome other councils from both sides of the border to become involved in the new alliance.
“The larger our group, the stronger our voice.”
Mr Antonio said the agreed vision of the group was ‘winning new water to provide for generational urban, rural and industrial outcomes and economic growth to 2150 and beyond’.
“Water security is a national issue, and the new alliance would work together to tackle it at a regional level,” Mr Antonio said.
“Improved water security would be a significant driver of regional growth and potential economic activity, particularly from private sector investment.
“The broader region of the Darling Downs and Northern New South Wales is suffering through lack of long-term water security options.
“We believe that further investment in water security by all levels of government at a regional level is vital to seize the wealth of opportunity before us.
“Regional water security would help realise substantial growth opportunities for the Darling Downs and Northern New South Wales through accelerated development in agriculture, value-added product, advanced manufacturing and alternative energy options.
“The alliance aims to work together on regional water security solutions and deliver real projects that make a real difference.”