Photo: Helen Commens

Future of Queensland Lake Eyre Basin discussions underway in Longreach

Today representatives of the Queensland Government’s Lake Eyre Basin Stakeholder Advisory Group will meet in Longreach to discuss the future of the Lake Eyre Basin rivers and Channel Country floodplains.

Representatives from First Nations, conservation, agriculture, resources, local government, and scientific experts are in Longreach to discuss strengthening safeguards that protect pastoral, tourism, cultural and environmental values of the Queensland Lake Eyre Basin.  

With the future of the Channel Country’s environmental and cultural assets at a crossroads, key members of the group will be addressing the inadequacy of the existing regulatory framework. 

Uncle George Gorringe, representative of the Lake Eyre Basin Traditional Owner Alliance, has traveled part-way by boat from Windorah to attend the meeting due to flood waters currently making their way through the Channel Country.

“It’s great to see country in flood. Water brings life to our rivers and floodplains. I really don’t want to see oil and gas companies ruin that.”

“I have seen the impacts that roads can have on water flows. I helped protect the Cooper from cotton in the 90s and I’m not going anywhere” said George Gorringe. 

Riley Rocco, spokesperson for the Western Rivers Alliance said, “The Channel Country rivers are among the last healthy, free-flowing rivers and fertile floodplains in the world – feeding families and supporting incredibly unique wildlife.

“It’s great to see the Queensland Government consulting across sectors but they have been promising to protect the rivers and floodplains for nearly seven years now. 

“Outback livelihoods and internationally significant ecosystems are on the line.”

The Lake Eyre Basin Stakeholder Advisory Group was established in 2020 to inform the Regulatory Impact Statement and identify improvements to better protect natural and cultural values and maintain the economic prosperity of existing industries. 

This is the third meeting out of four.