In response to Queensland irrigators’ call for control of their irrigation infrastructure, the State Government has introduced legislation to facilitate the implementation of local management for SunWater’s eight channel irrigation schemes.
Under the process, companies were established and boards appointed to represent the interests of customers, undertake further investigation of the option and negotiate terms of the transfer with government.
Transition companies were formed for schemes at Emerald, Eton, St George and Theodore, where a strong commitment to local management was demonstrated and where government determined that the schemes can be financially viable under local management. Customers of those schemes supported a move to transition to local management.
Investigation boards were set up for schemes in Bundaberg, the Burdekin-Haughton, Mareeba-Dimbulah and the Lower Mary, to allow further investigation on how local management could operate in these areas and prepare updated business proposals for their schemes. Customers in those schemes opted not to proceed with local management at this time.
A service company, owned and funded by government, was established to provide assistance to the transition companies and investigation boards. The board of LMA Support Services Pty Ltd was made up of the chairs from the eight scheme entities and chaired by agribusiness expert, Mr John Storie. A project team was engaged by LMA Support Services to support the companies and boards.