Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum meets
The Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum has affirmed support for the sustainable management of the Lake Eyre Basin based on science and local knowledge at its recent meeting.
A key decision was continued support for the Lake Eyre Basin Rivers Assessment, which ministers inaugurated last year. The assessment will scientifically monitor the condition of the rivers and catchments in the Lake Eyre Basin.
Ministers agreed to invite interested research institutions, regional bodies, non-government organisations and industry players to partner with government agencies and implement the assessment over a minimum period of three years.
Through these partnerships, the design, collection, analysis and interpretation of river health data would be carried out on a on a cost-recovery basis.
A key element of the proposed partnerships is the participation of Aboriginal and other community members in the monitoring work.
Ministers encouraged all parties with an interest in the Lake Eyre Basin to consider how they might be able to contribute to this initiative.
They affirmed support for the Lake Eyre Basin’s rich Aboriginal culture, agreeing on funding for the 2011 Lake Eyre Basin Aboriginal Forum in Tibooburra, New South Wales in September 2011. Ministers also agreed to continue the development of a Lake Eyre Basin Aboriginal Map and companion booklet to communicate the richness, diversity and vibrancy of Aboriginal culture across the Basin.
Ministers were updated on the Queensland Government’s new Cooper Creek Draft Water Resource Plan and proposals for Wild River declarations for the Cooper Creek, Georgina River and Diamantina River catchments. The forum acknowledged the common ground shared by these initiatives and the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement. They welcomed efforts by the Queensland Government to strengthen protection of the Queensland portions of these world-class dryland river systems.
The Ministers released the 2011 Report to the Community, which highlights achievements in implementing the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement during the previous year.
They expressed their appreciation for the work of the Lake Eyre Basin Community Advisory Committee and the Lake Eyre Basin Scientific Advisory Panel in providing quality advice over this period. In particular, ministers thanked Angus Emmott, Chair of the Lake Eyre Basin Community Advisory Committee for his leadership. Ministers also thanked Professor Stuart Bunn, past Chair of the Scientific Advisor Panel, for his invaluable contribution since 2001.
The Ministerial Forum comprises the Australian Government Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Tony Burke (Chair), Northern Territory Minister for Natural Resources, Environment and Heritage, Karl Hampton, South Australian Minister for Environment and Conservation, Paul Caica, and Queensland Minister for Natural Resources, Finance and the Arts, Rachel Nolan.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, deputised for Minister Burke at the meeting.
For more information on the Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum and outcomes of its ninth meeting, visit www.lebmf.gov.au