South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto

February 24, 2021

South Burnett Regional Council will facilitate the formation of “voluntary collaborative groups” of irrigators as part of the next stage of the Burnett Water Feasibility Study.

A discussion about the progress of the $2 million project – which has been funded by the Federal Government’s National Water Infrastructure Development Fund (NWIDF) – was discussed at council’s February 17 committee meeting.

General Manager Aaron Meehan said Stage 1 of the project had been completed with a number of recommendations made for projects which could be progressed into a business case.

Council had now applied for Stage 2.

“Our key target was to not only enable certain projects but to build an economic development plan for water for the next 25 years for this region which would line up with the 2045 Community Plan that we are looking to do as an organisation,” Mr Meehan said.

“That still remains a real priority for us.”

Mr Meehan said it was not only about getting projects shovel-ready but to also further the develop the region’s agriculture “as industries transition” over the next period, particularly Tarong Power Station and water assets associated with it in the long term.

Mayor Brett Otto said the intention of the recommendation before councillors was to empower interested irrigator groups, such as the one at Blackbutt, to work independently with a provider such as BIEDO to support them advocating for funding.

The Committee recommended:

  • That South Burnett Regional Council review resourcing requirements and allocate budgets to further works in the Burnett Water Feasibility Study upon approval of further stages
  • Council facilitate a meeting with interested irrigator groups to form one or more voluntary, collaborative group/s to be funded between the parties under an external arrangement.
  • Once the group/s are established, a further report to Council to appoint a Council representative/s to the group/s

Mayor Otto noted that about $450,000 of grant funds remained unallocated each between the South and North Burnett.

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