Water Journal : Water Journal May 2014
WATER MAY 2014 16 Industry News MINISTERIAL GROUP TO LOOK AT AUSTRALIA'S FUTURE WATER NEEDS The Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, will chair a new ministerial working group set up to identify new infrastructure projects that can deliver Australia's water supply needs in the future. The rst task of the group, which was established by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, will be to identify priorities, investment and processes to fast-track development. Minister Joyce said water infrastructure had to keep pace with economic opportunities in Australia's region and with national population growth. "Australia's population is expected to reach 35 million by 2050 and we also have to take advantage of the growing wealth of hundreds of millions of people who live close by," Minister Joyce said. "This ministerial working group gives us the opportunity to prioritise our water and infrastructure needs -- both by upgrading existing infrastructure or building new infrastructure, and some of these are already in the pipeline." Minister Joyce said the group was part of a Coalition commitment to plan for the dams of the future, and was evidence of the Abbott Government's wider commitment to build infrastructure. Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, Simon Birmingham, said that Australia's naturally variable climate means that we must look for new water infrastructure opportunities that are both innovative and sustainable. "The ministerial working group brings together key areas of the government including infrastructure, water, agriculture and the environment to push forward the Prime Minister's goal of building productive infrastructure for the future," said Senator Birmingham. "This group will look at new dams as well as options like harvesting and storing water in underground aquifers to further boost the ef cient and sustainable utilisation of our water resources." Under the guidelines outlined by the Prime Minister, the group will: • Identify how investment in water infrastructure, such as dams, could be accelerated, including methods for assessing feasibility and cost bene t analysis of particular proposals, the role of Infrastructure Australia, and nancing. • Identify priorities for investment in new or existing dams, including the merit of proposals already well-developed and the productivity and/or economic bene ts of new or existing dams. • Outline how proposed approaches will improve the management of Australia's water resources to support economic development, ood mitigation and respond to community and industry needs. • Consider opportunities for groundwater storage (aquifers), water reuse and water ef ciency to ensure investment in dams occurs where it is the most suitable solution. • Take account of economic, social and environmental considerations, including consistency with National Water Initiative principles. The working group will consult with State and Territory governments to understand their priorities and how they can best work together. Members of the group will be: • Minister for Agriculture, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, Chair • Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Warren Truss MP • Minister for Environment, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP • Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Hon. Jamie Briggs MP • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham. The group's water infrastructure options paper will be developed by July 2014 so that its outcomes can be considered as part of the White Papers on Northern Australia and Agricultural Competitiveness. BORING INTO GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT AT NATIONAL DRILLING CONFERENCE Groundwater regulation will be one of the hot topics at the Australian Drilling Industry Association's (ADIA) national agship drilling conference, DRILL 2014, on the Gold Coast from 19--22 August. Representatives from Queensland's Department of Natural Resources & Mines (DNRM) will explain impending changes to the Queensland Water Act 2000 and potential consequences for the water industry. The conference caters for the full range of onshore drilling sectors: • Groundwater • Geotechnical/environmental • Minerals exploration • CSG (Coal Seam Gas) • HDD (Horizontal Directional Drilling) Both the Queensland Government and ADIA's diverse membership support business and environmental sustainability. Over 500 delegates are anticipated to attend, while the exhibition area will boast the nation's largest display of drilling rigs and other capital equipment for the drilling industry. The theme for DRILL 2014 is 'recognising opportunities', and there will be numerous opportunities for delegates to network and nd new ways to increase training, safety and pro t in their organisation.
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