Agricultural development of the Western Davenport region and the Singleton water licence decision has generated a strong response from a wide range of stakeholders. NT Farmers Association has listened to and acknowledges concerns regarding the proposed development and its water use.
The Water Resources Review Panel have reviewed an appeal to the original Singleton water license, NT Farmers keenly await the decision from the Minister for Water Security. NT Farmers thank the panel for their hard work in reviewing the water license decision.
‘We strongly support the appeal process and the upcoming review of the Western Davenport Water Allocation Plan. These processes provide a vital opportunity to re-evaluate the safe and effective management of water for agricultural development in the region.’ Mr Paul Burke said, CEO of NT Farmers Association.
‘NT Farmers have heard the concerns of community members regarding the proposed development and we acknowledge the importance and necessity of the review process. NT Farmers are committed to ensuring that industry develops at a pace that Territorians are comfortable with. Industry and Territorians can grow together and prosper from responsible agricultural developments.’
‘Farmers, as land managers and Territorians, want to ensure that their activities do not comprise the Territory’s water systems or environment. Given the size of the proposed development, it is prudent for the project’s water allocations to be implemented in gradual stages.’
‘The significant investor and community interest in this water decision highlights the need to fund significant research into the Territory’s water systems. Further research will underpin and support the government’s water licensing decision processes and give stakeholders much greater confidence in the sustainability of allocations.’
‘History teaches us that a precautionary approach to water allocation offers the best environmental outcomes, but also the best economic outcomes. In locations with limited agricultural development, such as Western Davenport, a cautious approach ensures that we don’t have unexpected impacts on groundwater, nor on the native vegetation that depends on that water.’
The government has determined a consumptive pool in the Western Davenport region. Because there is very little development in the area this consumptive pool is determined using modelling. NT Farmers proposes that extraction should be capped at a modest level (perhaps 40% of the consumptive pool) to allow for monitoring of impacts. In this way future allocations can be informed by a model that is tested against real data from monitoring.
The consumptive pool is determined through the water allocation planning process. The Western Davenport Water Allocation Plan is due for its 5-year review now. This is the forum in which difficult decisions about safe levels of extraction and the scale and speed of development need to occur. All the key stakeholders are at the water allocation planning table and have access to all the available information so that robust consensus decision making can happen.
‘NT Farmers believe that it is possible to successfully create agricultural developments in the region while also safeguarding water for future generations. We are committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure water is responsibly utilized while creating economically sustainable opportunities for all Territorians.’ Mr Burke said.
For further information contact:
CEO NT Farmers Association