Today the Lake Eyre Basin (Qld) Stakeholder Advisory Group will meet for the final time to discuss the future of Queensland’s Channel Country rivers and floodplains.
The Stakeholder Advisory Group was formed to ensure the protection of Queensland’s Lake Eyre Basin rivers and floodplains and includes representatives from the Lake Eyre Basin Traditional Owner Alliance, industry bodies, environment groups, local government, scientific experts and government departments.
Riley Rocco, spokesperson for the Western Rivers Alliance, said it’s time for the Palaszczuk Government to deliver on its 7 year election commitment to protect the rivers and floodplains as stakeholder consultation comes to an end.
“Now that the Stakeholder Advisory Group is closing, the Palaszczuk Government must get on with the job of protecting the Channel Country rivers and floodplains.
“Any further delays only put the Channel Country rivers and floodplains at real risk – as we saw late last year with the granting of Origin Energy’s 11 production permits for unconventional gas across 250,000 hectares of globally important floodplains.
George Gorringe, Mithaka Traditional Owner and founding member of the Lake Eyre Basin Traditional Owner Alliance, said he has been fighting to protect the Channel Country rivers and floodplains for decades and that right now is a key opportunity to make sure they’re protected for future generations.
“Back in the 90s we fought to save the Cooper from cotton irrigation, now we need to protect the rivers and floodplains from oil and gas.
“I’ve seen the damage a single road can do to our country – cutting off water flows and choking the floodplains. Opening the rivers and floodplains to unconventional oil and gas fields would be devastating for our country and our people.
“These rivers are more than just a resource for making money. They are as significant to this country as its birds and animals – our stories all depend on the rivers.
“Just recently Mithaka Traditional Owners have been overseas presenting ground-breaking archeological research from our country. The Channel Country is on the world stage, so our history and culture are on the line here.
“The Queensland Government should be supporting jobs and business opportunities for Traditional Owners to be out looking after our country, not destroying it.”
Recommendations from the stakeholder advisory group will be open for public consultation shortly.
The Palaszczuk Government first committed to protecting Channel Country rivers in 2015.
In 2017 the Palaszczuk Government committed to working with the Lake Eyre Basin Traditional Owner Alliance to ensure the Channel Country rivers and floodplains were protected.
In 2020 the Palaszczuk Government committed to form the Lake Eyre Basin (Qld) Stakeholder Advisory Group to ensure the protection of the Channel Country rivers and floodplains.