Queensland announces wild river declarations
The Queensland Government has announced its intentions to make three Wild River declarations to enforce strict environmental protection measures in the state’s west.
The declarations will protect the state’s Lake Eyre Basin from large dams and unsustainable industrial development, covering the Cooper Creek, Georgina and Diamantina catchments.
The government has announced a squad of 10 Indigenous river rangers, who will be tasked with patrolling the region.
The 1.2 million-square-kilometre Lake Eyre Basin is Australia’s largest inland river system (more than 500,000 square kilometres in Queensland) and does not have any major weirs or dams in Queensland.
Specifically the new protection will:
- Prevent open cut mines, large dams, irrigation and gas and petroleum production in areas known as High Preservation Areas (3.6 per cent of the Queensland Lake Eyre Basin);
- Prevent open cut mines, large dams and irrigation in an areas known as Special Floodplain Management Areas (6.8 per cent of the Queensland Lake Eyre Basin);
- Require gas and petroleum production and exploration to be 200 metres away from watercourses in the Special Floodplain Management Area; and
- Put strict conditions on limited gas and petroleum activities in the Special Floodplain Management Area to ensure that wild river values are protected.
State Environment Minister Vicky Darling said a 200 megalitre Indigenous water reserve had also been established under the Cooper Creek Water Resource Plan following extensive consultation with Traditional Owners.