Queensland Environment and Resource Management Minister Kate Jones introduced reforms in State Parliament aimed at significantly reducing review times for water resource planning in Queensland by up to two years. 

Ms Jones said the major changes to the Water Act 2000 will mean that Water Resource Plans and Resource Operations Plans that were previously developed separately will now be done together, streamlining the process.

“They reflect the recommendations of a recent independent review and feedback we have received from stakeholders." Ms Jones said

“The original planning process was designed for the first ever plans which were done on a blank canvas.

“Now that plans are in place across most of the State’s major catchments, reviews can happen as quickly as possible and these reforms are about allowing that to happen.”

Ms Jones said the reforms will also significantly improve the community consultation process.

“The community will now be able to comment on changes to strategic catchment-wide goals, and see what this means for individual water users,” Ms Jones said.

“The changes will also allow extra community involvement when there is high community interest or a streamlined consultation process where communities want to see work completed quickly.

“Most of all, these changes will reduce uncertainty for water users by slashing the time taken for water resource and resource operations plans to be reviewed, by up to two years.”

Ms Jones said these significant time savings will first benefit communities in the Boyne, Pioneer and Barron Water Resource Plan areas.

In the coming few years communities in the Warrego, Moonie, Condamine-Balonne, Boarder, as well as Georgina and Diamantina catchments will also benefit from the improved review process.

Changes to the water resource planning framework have been designed to be consistent with the Commonwealth Water Act 2007 and the National Water Initiative.