Thomson River. Photo: A Emmott
In 2008, the Ministerial Forum agreed to the development of a Five Year Action Plan (2009-2014) to implement the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement. As a 'living document', the Action Plan is reassessed annually by the Ministerial Forum to monitor and evaluate progress, determine next steps and review funding arrangements. The six policies detailed below are implemented with assistance from the Lake Eyre Basin Community Advisory Committee, Lake Eyre Basin Scientific Advisory Panel and Senior Officers Group.
River Flows Policy
'Flow regimes of river systems within the Agreement Area will be managed to protect and maintain the ecological integrity and natural function of in-stream and floodplain ecosystems, and the viability of economic, social, cultural and other activities which do not threaten these environmental values.'
- Strategy 1: Scope the need for convergence and/or alignment of legislation, policy and planning of water resource management in different jurisdictions.
- Strategy 2: Encourage best practice in road and other engineering works that have potential to significantly affect the distribution and timing of river flows.
Water Quality Policy
'Water quality in the river systems within the Agreement Area will be managed to protect and maintain the ecological integrity and natural function of in-stream and floodplain ecosystems, and the viability of economic, social, cultural and other activities which do not threaten these environmental values.'
- Strategy 3: Coordinate water quality monitoring and data management frameworks across jurisdictions to enable data collaboration, analysis, comparison and reporting at regional, catchment and whole-of-basin scales.
Water and Related Natural Resources Policy
'Water and related natural resources associated with the river systems within the Agreement Area will be managed to protect and maintain the ecological integrity and natural function of in-stream and floodplain ecosystems and the viability of economic, social, cultural and other activities which do not threaten these environmental values.'
- Strategy 4: Promote the need for natural resource management decisions to take account of potential impacts on other parts of the system.
- Strategy 5: Identify opportunities for improved coordination and consistency of approach to aquatic and terrestrial weed and feral animal management activities.
Existing Entitlements and Water Resource Development Policy
'Water resource planning, allocation and management arrangements, including the management of water entitlements, will be compatible with the Lake Eyre Basin Agreement. Efficient use of water will be a fundamental principle of water entitlements and utilisation. Water resource development proposals will be assessed to determine their potential impact on river flows and water quality, and compatibility with the Agreement and relevant water resource plans. These assessments will be based on the best available science information and local knowledge (including information from other regions in Australia and overseas).'
- Strategy 6: Develop principles to guide the comprehensive assessment of water resource development proposals in the Agreement Area, in particular their appropriateness for Lake Eyre Basin river systems and catchments.
Research and Monitoring Policy
'Management of water and related natural resources associated with the river systems in the Agreement Area will be guided by the best available scientific information and local knowledge, and by the results of ongoing monitoring and periodic assessment of the condition of these river systems. Targeted research may also be undertaken to address identified knowledge gaps.'
- Strategy 7: Promote the integration of the Lake Eyre Basin Agreement Area outcomes into water and related natural resource management decision-making.
- Strategy 8: Engaging non-Indigenous and Indigenous stakeholders to ensure that local knowledge is recognised and utilised in assessment and management of the Basin.
Whole-of-Basin Approach Policy
'Water and related natural resources in the Lake Eyre Basin Agreement Area will be managed through a whole-of-basin approach so as to achieve complementary outcomes, through the implementation of state/territory legislation and the plans and associated investment strategies of relevant regional bodies in Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.'
- Strategy 9: The Communications Strategy will include annual reporting to the Basin community through the Ministerial Forum on progress in implementing policies, strategies and other activities under the Agreement.
- Strategy 10: Develop and implement a communication strategy to raise public awareness of the Lake Eyre Basin Agreement and the work of the Ministerial Forum, the Community Advisory Committee and the Scientific Advisory Panel.
- Strategy 11: Scope the need for consistent and complementary data management frameworks across jurisdictions to enable data collation, analysis, comparison and reporting at regional, catchment and whole-of-basin scales.
- Strategy 12: Improving community and other stakeholder access to data and information on the economic, social, environmental and heritage values of the Basin, including the Internet based systems.