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The Great Artesian Basin (Gab) Resource

The Hon Wilson Tuckey MP Minister for Forestry and Conservation

6 July 1999

Tuckey Determined To Effectively Manage The Great Artesian Basin (Gab) Resource

The Great Artesian Basin (GAB) is an Australian treasure that is in need of improved management to ensure its long-term value as a water resource for arid Australia, said Wilson Tuckey, Federal Minister for Forestry and Conservation.

The GAB has sustained generations of pastoralists, miners and regional towns in Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia and we cannot afford to see that precious water run to waste or its pressurised delivery decline any further.

In the past two days, I have inspected bore rehabilitation in the GAB. I have been impressed with the bore capping and piping that has taken place already. The momentum is building among water users in the Basin to reduce wastage.

I pay tribute to the pastoralists who have demonstrated their commitments to the conservation and wise usage of water resources in the Basin by investing in bore capping and reticulated stock water supplies. These pastoralists are leading the way for their fellow graziers and other water users who rely on this resource in the GAB.

As a part of this trip, I want to pay tribute to the initiative of the Great Artesian Basin Consultative Council in preparing a Management Plan for the Basin.

The Federal Government is going to pay its part with a $31.8 million Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative announced in this year's Federal Budget.

The funds will be spread over five years and directed to accelerating works on the ground to preserve and restore artesian water pressure in priority areas of the Basin.

The injection of Commonwealth funds, to be complemented by State and Landholder contributions, will break the back of the task of capping the 850 or so old artesian bores in the Basin.

These bores have deteriorated to the point where their water discharge cannot be controlled and so they freely flow on to the land surface.

The Federal Government will be looking to see its $31.8 million investment also assists in changing the way the resource is managed in the future so that today's water wastage situation does not re-occur.

To this end, I am very impressed with the suggestion from Mr John Seccombe for Governments to look closely with landholders and an insurance system to allow for the replacement of bore capping infrastructure as required in future years.

With water coming from depths of 1,000 metres or more and commonly over a million years in age it would be a selfish generation that continued to let these bores flow unchecked day and night 365 days a year.

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