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Gilbert water flow waits on IFED nod

 

Sally Cripps, Queensland Country Life

THE water needs of the Integrated Food and Energy Development (IFED) project are behind the delay in the release of additional water entitlements from the Gilbert River announced last week by the state government.

It released additional water entitlements in the Flinders and Gilbert Rivers under an amended Gulf Water Resource Plan, opening up another 239,650ML to potential Flinders irrigators and making 467,000ML available in the Gilbert catchment. However, it said the Gilbert catchment reserves wouldn't be made available until after the IFED EIS was done.

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North Queensland fertile ground for cotton growing

North Queensland fertile ground for cotton growing

courier mail corish

Courier Mail - Journalist: GLEN NORRIS Photo: ERIN CORISH

NORTH Queensland could become a major cotton growing region as plans to open farming areas in the region accelerate.

Cotton Australia chairman Simon Corish said growing cotton in the north could boost the national crop by up to 15 per cent and lift exports.

At the moment, most cotton is grown in New South Wales and southern Queensland regions.

Beef producer Stanbroke last month said it was planning a 15,000ha cotton farm on the Flinders River, about 90km south of Normanton, and just west of the $2 billion IFED irrigation project.

“The industry has put a lot of research and development into growing cotton in north Queensland,” Mr Corish said.

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Changes to Gulf water resource plan could leave small irrigators without a drop

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More than 700,000 megalitres of additional water will be released for irrigation development, by the Queensland Government, from the Flinders and Gilbert River systems.

However, it remains unclear whether the increased water allocation, on top of an earlier release of 94,000ML by the previous LNP Government in 2013, will be enough to quench the thirst of inland towns such as Julia Creek, Richmond, Hughenden, and Georgetown for economic development.

Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham, said tenders for 239,650ML of water from the Flinders River will open soon as a result of changes to the Gulf Water Resource Plan.

But a decision to delay the tender process for water from the Gilbert River has caused "angst" among producers in the Etheridge Shire, where there is concern the entire extra allocation of 467,000ML could go to a single, major cropping and grazing operation.

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