Dr Anthony Lynham


Water laws protect creeks, rivers and farmers’ rights

10 November 2015 – media release –

The state’s creeks, rivers and aquifers and the Great Barrier Reef will be protected under new water laws introduced to Parliament today.

Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham today introduced the Water Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 to replace the previous government’s proposed water legislation.

“This Bill will underpin the sustainable management of our precious water resources for all users – landholders, communities, the resources sector — and protect the environment,” he said.

“In Opposition, Labor fiercely opposed many elements of the LNP’s water laws because we were very concerned about what they meant for the Great Barrier Reef and the potential for frittering away our water resources.

“We went to the last election with a commitment to act on this and we are delivering on yet another commitment today.”

Dr Lynham said a key issue was removing the LNP’s water development options.

“These options would have irresponsibly given water to big projects without consultation and without strong criteria to make good decisions,” he said.

Dr Lynham said the Bill also:

  • restored the principle of ecologically sustainable development into the Act’s purpose. The LNP’s laws were going to remove it.
  • replaced references to responsible and productive management with sustainable management in the purposes and throughout the Water Resources and Other Legislation Act 2014 (WROLA).
  • stopped the creation of so-called “designated watercourses”, where water could have been taken without a science-based water licence.

Dr Lynham said the government would retain the proposed groundwater framework in the WROLA Act .

“The framework does not affect the amount of underground water the resources sector uses, or affect the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.

“This framework will give landholders the protection of a statutory obligation on miners to make good any impact on their water bores,” he said.

“Mines will continue to be subject to rigorous environmental impact assessments and landholders’ rights will be protected.”

Dr Lynham said government continued to explore additional ways to protect water resources, including looking closely at strengthening existing environmental assessment processes to address groundwater impact assessment and water usage management.