The Queensland 2024-25 State Budget has allocated $32 million for the protection of the Great Artesian Basin (GAB), which will see more bore capping and piping activities over four years.  

This will add to the more than $89 million the Queensland Government has already invested to protect the GAB. This important program has leveraged co-investment from landholders and industry. 

The GAB supports around 80 communities in outback Queensland and is essential to agriculture, industry and the environment. 

In addition, the GAB supports more than 280 natural spring ecosystems, with many of these ecosystems providing a home to rare and endangered flora and fauna. 

Since work began to improve the GAB, more than 226,000ML a year has been returned to the basin. 

This work has saved about 3000ML of water so far, with the capping of eight bores and replacing 137km of open bore drains with controlled watering systems. It is hoped that another 2182ML of water can be returned to the Basin with this funding and getting another step closer to the goal of becoming watertight by 2032. 

The protection of this crucial water source is supported by the State Government’s announcement to ban carbon capture and storage in the Queensland component of the Great Artesian Basin. 

Queensland Premier, Steven Miles, said that protecting the Queensland environment is incredibly important to him.  

“Supporting our primary producers is absolutely critical for our economy and further investment in this bore-capping program is doing just that by locking in water security,” Mr Miles said.  

“The Great Artesian Basin is just too important to Queensland to mess with, that’s why we have banned CCS in the Great Artesian Basin and it’s why we are continuing to protect one of the greatest natural assets in the world.” 

Queensland Minister for Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water, Glenn Butcher, said that the Great Artesian Basin is the largest groundwater aquifer in the world and is a pristine feature that must be protected. 

“I’m proud to be part of the Government that is banning carbon capture and storage in the GAB forever.  But our work doesn’t stop there – our capping and piping work brings together graziers, environmentalists and regional councils – who all understand the importance of this vital water resource.”  

Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) CEO, Jo Sheppard, said that the QFF welcomes the Queensland Government’s ongoing investment in the Great Artesian Basin Water Security Program to continue the journey towards the goal of making the Basin watertight by 2032. 

“This important initiative has supported the rehabilitation of approximately 770 bores, 450 bores piped and seen over 15,000km of open drains decommissioned since its inception which has resulted in significant water savings and the restoration of groundwater pressure across the basin. 

“The Great Artesian Basin is one of our most valuable natural water producing assets and it is our responsibility to continue to protect it for future generations. This program is a direct investment in water security for farmers and regional communities who rely upon the Great Artesian Basin.” 

Image: John Carnemolla/ 

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