Project timeline

Separate timelines have been agreed for the transition schemes (Emerald, Eton, St George and Theodore) and the investigation schemes (Bundaberg, Burdekin-Haughton, Mareeba-Dimbulah and Lower Mary).

The process was developed after each scheme submitted business proposals to government for ownership and management of the irrigation channels at the end of 2014.

Progress to each step is subject to the continuing support for local management by scheme customers. Further information is available from the project team.

Transition schemes timeline

Key date



October 2016

Offer from Government

Government provides Transition boards with a formal offer, identifying the proposed separation  payment, assets to transfer, and key terms for any final transfer.

Nov 2016-Jan 2017

Review of offer

Transition board undertakes preliminary assessment of viability of local management based on the offer, 
re-assesses the status of the scheme against the initial business proposal and engages customers in relation to the offer.

By 31 January 2017

Decision to proceed

Based on the offer, the Transition board must advise Government if it wishes to continue with the LMA process. This is not a final commitment to move to local management, but an acknowledgement that there is still a realistic prospect of customer support for LMA based on the offer.


By September 2017

Further due diligence

Further reviews and assessments by consultants and the transition boards to determine viability of local management including:
•    detailed legal review
•    engineering assessment (to update the review from the previous stage)
•    updated financial model 
•    updated business plan.

By 31 October 2017

Negotiation and signed transfer agreement

 If the Transition board is satisfied with the outcome of the further due diligence, the board, on behalf of the scheme customers, will negotiate the final terms of the transfer agreement with the  State. Based on this, a transfer agreement will be signed, setting out the terms of the transfer. 

By 31 January 2018

Customer offer

Based on the due diligence, a customer offer will be prepared. This will likely be certified by a range of professional advisors (legal, financial, and engineering firms). The document will be sent to all scheme customers together with an offer to become a member or shareholder in the new local management entity. The offer will include a revised water supply contract which would govern supply of water to customers in the scheme under local management.

1 Jan 2018– 30 June 2018

Preparation for transfer

If sufficient customers elect to become members/shareholders, then the transfer agreement will be activated. The Transition board will then prepare for the final transfer. This will include developing the necessary systems (e.g. financial, administrative etc.) to take over operations.

By 1 July 2018


Transfer processes will differ for each scheme but the transfer is likely to involve:
•    scheme assets and separation payment being transferred into the transition company shortly before the transfer date
•    shares being issued to customers
•    the government’s share being cancelled. 
At this time, the scheme assets will be held by an entity that is wholly owned and controlled by scheme customers.

Investigation schemes timeline

Key date  Activity  Description
October 2016 (completed) Feedback on business proposal Government provides the relevant Investigation board with a response to its 2014 business proposal and description of the changes that will be required for the scheme to be considered for a move to local management.
Nov 2017 to 31 Aug 2018 Further due diligence

Investigation board consults customers on government response and further reviews and assessments by consultants. Investigation boards to determine viability of local management, including:
•    engineering assessment (to update the review from the previous stage)
•    revisiting approach to management and operation of the scheme
•    updating the financial model and related projections.

Based on this, the board will prepare an updated business proposal.

Sept/Oct 2017 Customer consultation The Investigation board consults with customers in relation to the revised business proposal and assesses customer support for local management.
By 30 November 2017* Business proposal submitted to government If supported by customers the business proposal is finalised and submitted to Government.
* Extension granted 11 Sept 2017