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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon. Dr David Kemp
Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
Mr Stephen Robertson MP
South Australian Minister for Environment and Conservation
Mr John Hill MP

21 November 2003

New Community Advisory Committee to Support Whole-of-Basin Management of Lake Eyre Basin

Australian Environment and Heritage Minister, Dr David Kemp, Queensland Natural Resources Minister, Mr Stephen Robertson, and South Australian Environment Minister, Mr John Hill, are looking forward to a partnership with the newly appointed Community Advisory Committee to the Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum.

The Community Advisory Committee, established to advise Australian and State Government Ministers on sustainable cross-border management of water and natural resources in the Lake Eyre Basin, meets for the first time in Longreach this Friday, 21 November.

Ministers Kemp, Robertson and Hill comprise the Lake Eyre Basin Ministerial Forum, which is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement. The Agreement was signed by the Australian, Queensland and South Australian Governments in 2000. The Northern Territory Government has also expressed interest in participating.

The Agreement provides for the sustainable management of water and related natural resources associated with major cross-border river systems within the Lake Eyre Basin.

Members of the Committee Advisory Committee represent a range of community and sectoral interests in relation to the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement. Mr Angus Emmott, grazier and well-regarded natural historian from Noonbah on the Thomson River has been appointed as Chair of the new committee.

Dr Kemp, as Chair of the Ministerial Forum, said the primary role of the Committee is to advise Ministers on community views and interests in relation to issues covered by the Lake Eyre Basin Agreement.

"The Committee will play an important role in supporting a whole-of-basin approach to the implementation of the Lake Eyre Basin Agreement, and other natural resource management activities across the Basin.

"This is an area equivalent to almost one-fifth of Australia, which includes significant portions of Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Good coordination is absolutely vital for sustainable cross-border management of this important region," Dr Kemp said.

Minister Robertson said he was looking forward to working with the new Community Advisory Committee. "This is about ensuring the sustainable management of the Basin's natural resources that are crucial to the survival of local rural industries and communities," he said.

Minister Hill said South Australia was strongly committed to the Lake Eyre Basin Agreement and to ecologically sustainable management of the Basin and its resources. "I am pleased with the developing partnership between community and government in the Basin and wish the Community Advisory Committee well in its important work."

Mr Emmott said the Committee was an excellent example of how Governments and community can work together toward sustainable natural resource management.

"This is a unique part of Australia. The Lake Eyre Basin is the world's largest internally draining river basin, supporting significant environment and heritage values as well as extensive pastoral, mining and petroleum developments.

"Australian communities are making a real difference to the health of their environment, and this commitment will be further demonstrated through the work of the Lake Eyre Basin Community Advisory Committee".

Commonwealth of Australia