Irrigation Development Scheme

North West Queensland has potential for irrigated agriculture to grow both high value crops and fodder crops, to support cattle finishing and processing.

Government water allocations over the past 10 years have resulted in virtually no irrigation development in the region.

The government imposed cost and conditions on water releases from the Flinders and Gilbert river systems are incompatible with development.

KAP believes there should be a number of free, non-transferrable, licences under a North West Queensland Irrigation Development Scheme. This would stimulate irrigation development.

Eligible independent landholders on the Flinders and Gilbert river systems would be able to take up 3000 megalitres of water a year under a free licence.

Independent farm operators would be able to grow crops to support their existing livestock operations or diversify their farm income.

50,000 megalitres would be set aside from each system for the trail period of five years. The program would then be reviewed, to determine if the uptake and resulting development warrants expanding the program.

Licences would only be provided to producers with a demonstrated irrigation plan. They would be non-transferrable between landholders.

Landholders who successfully develop an irrigation project during the trial period, would automatically have their trail licence extended for 20 years.