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Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce pays a visit: investment, training, science and information all considered

Posted by gasweek on 26 September, 2007

The Australian Government’s Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce visited Western Australia for the week 27-31 August 2007, reported a Taskforce comminique.

Development of Ord River region: The Taskforce, established by Prime Minister John Howard as part of ‘A National Plan for Water Security’, was examining the potential for further developing land and water resources in northern Australia in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable manner. The Taskforce met with Western Australian Treasurer Eric Ripper, Agriculture Minister Kim Chance and WA government officials to discuss development options for the Kimberley region, with a particular focus on the Ord River region.

Investment and training: The Taskforce travelled to Broome and Kununurra to meet with a range of stakeholders and community leaders. It took the opportunity to visit Roebuck Plains Station (near Broome) and Home Valley Station (south-west of Kununurra) to review the training and development programs being provided by the Indigenous Land Corporation, as well as looking at examples of successful pastoral and tourism business initiatives. Looking at the Kimberly region as a whole, the Taskforce confirmed the role that investment in infrastructure plays in opening up development opportunities across a range of industries, such as agriculture, minerals and resources and tourism. While a number of transport infrastructure challenges were highlighted by stakeholders, the Taskforce also noted the serious impact the high cost of residential housing and accommodation is having on development, and even existing businesses in the region.

Good science and accessible information: The Taskforce noted the importance all stakeholders placed on managing future development in a way that recognises the fragile nature of the unique natural assets of the region. For this to happen, the Taskforce noted that planners and developers need a good understanding of … the interconnectivity of ground and surface water systems, across northern Australia. Such knowledge required good science, supported by sound measurement and monitoring practice, and most importantly, a system focused on the north, to capture the information, and make it accessible to those who need it.

Reference: Communique, Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce, 31 August 2007. More information on the Taskforce, including its terms of reference and membership, can be found at: http://www.environment.gov.au/water/action/development/index.html

Erisk Net, 31/8/2007

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