KAP member for Mt Isa Rob Katter is calling for more focus on smaller producers following the government’s newly announced Gulf Water Release.
“The KAP fought hard to see the allocations were only available to landholders along the river system of the gulf and not traded as a commodity across the globe so the international bankers and speculators are not able to just accumulate and hold gulf land holders water.
Mr Katter said he was concerned that the price of $45.00 per megalitres is plenty for a developer to pay, especially since there will be quite a long lead time before landholders can develop and make income from the commodity.
“This is a development situation and we want the development, if the government intended to put some infrastructure in like dams and channels to deliver the water then of course it is worth a little more money,” he said.
While Mr Katter was pleased to finally secure an outcome for local graziers and developers he hopes to negotiate further resources down the track.
“KAP would not stand in the way of water access in the Gulf and could not delay the release further however there is much more work that needs to be done.”
“For months the KAP has been in discussions with the government with a view to speedy provision of water for development throughout the Gulf water systems,” Mr Katter said.
“Our clear object has been to facilitate development with all the employment and growth implications for our region.”
Mr Katter noted the volume of water available in the upper reaches of the system are inadequate to affect the level of development.
“We also note that the river systems of Gregory, Leichhardt, Norman and Nicholson have had minor allocations, though no discussion has been had with the government on this. We believe that with some consideration that further water may be available for distribution from these systems,” Mr Katter said.
“Once again we assure the electorate and the Australian people of our determination to utilise the national capacity by maximising the water use and water availability.”
“You can be sure we will continue to advocate to improve water availability to our people and our communities,” he said.
Mr Katter believes the region would benefit from giving smaller property owners with a local workforce the opportunity to take up some of their water needs instead of larger corporations.
“Communities not corporations need to be given the upper hand when it comes to negotiating with government,” Mr Katter said.