Water is the lifeblood for over 5,000 irrigated farm businesses across Queensland. As the climate changes, the allocation of water for agricultural production is key to producing the world-class food and fibre that Queensland is known for.
We know that an investment in water is an investment in jobs, but to get those jobs in place we need to unlock the potential of our natural resources. Water is also a key resource needed to support other important Queensland sectors, including construction and manufacturing.
Queenslanders are still paying for Labor’s multi–billion dollar water grid through increases in bulk water charges as part of a 20-year price path, with price rises continually well above inflation. Without a plan Queenslanders will continue to pay more and won’t have water security.
If elected, an LNP Government will work with Seqwater, Sunwater and local governments to undertake a state-wide water asset audit to unlock the jobs that can be created by opening up access to key water infrastructure. This audit will inform the development of a 30 year water security plan for Queensland.
While water licences are an important part of protecting our natural environment, we believe there is capacity to support increased economic development in regional Queensland, through specific industry-based allocations. We also need to ensure that access to water is affordable.
Labor extended the current irrigation pricing policies by two years, until 30 June 2019, locking in above-inflation price increases. While the Queensland Competition Authority sets price targets recommended for each tariff group, no future price reviews have been announced.
We would establish a mechanism for reviewing the current price targets, in consultation with key industry groups.
Unlocking our natural resources for economic development will create more jobs, particularly across rural and regional Queensland.
The 30 year water security plan will also look at further dam and water infrastructure such as Hell’s Gate Dam and Tully Millstream hydro-electricity.