C Veron

Water plan to have "unacceptable impacts" on Great Barrier Reef

A PROPOSED water reform bill may lead to "unacceptable impacts" on the Great Barrier Reef, states a submission from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

The Queensland Parliamentary Agriculture, Resources and Environment Committee yesterday held a public hearing into the proposed Water Reform and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014.

In a submission on the bill, the Marine Park Authority said a clause allowing water use before a full impact assessment being carried out could adversely affect the reef.

"Allocation of water resources prior to the full and open assessment of the potential cumulative impacts on groundwater, surface waters and the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Property may lead to unacceptable impacts to coastal waterways and Great Barrier Reef ecosystems," the submission read.

Similarly, Sunshine Coast academic Dr Claudia Baldwin, who told the committee she worked on the Water Act 2000 and had consulted with other state governments on water reform, said the proposed bill was in "blatant disregard" of science.

"We do not want to repeat the costly struggles and buybacks which were required to remediate the Murray-Darling system. Yet this legislation sets up the guarantee that this is precisely what we will be forced to do," she said.

However, in introducing the bill to parliament Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps said it would provide surety regarding Queensland's water.

"The primary purpose of the bill is to ensure the state's water resources are used responsibly and productively for the benefit of all Queenslanders while retaining certainty and security for existing water entitlement holders and balancing economic, social and environmental outcomes," he told parliament.

The committee is set to report back to parliament by November 17.

- APN NEWSDESK

 



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