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Health of Great Artesian Basin boosted

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The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has welcomed the announcement by Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce to provide $8 million over two years for water infrastructure in the Great Artesian Basin (GAB).

NFF Chief Executive Tony Mahar said the GAB was one of Australia’s most significant water resources.

“The GAB spans Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory and covers more than 1.7 million square kilometres.

“In many of the pastoral regions in these areas, the GAB is the only source of water, in particular, for some, the only permanent water supply.

Mr Mahar said the consumptive use of GAB-sourced water directly contributed $12.8 billion to the Australian economy each year.

“With an estimated 35,000 bores across the Basin, graziers and governments have co-invested millions of dollars in capping and piping programs to address issues of wastage, declining pressures and land degradation that results from free flowing bores.

“While much of this work has been finalised, there is still more to be done to fully realise the value of our past investments.”

Mr Mahar said the announcement would go some way to continuing the job. However the NFF agrees with the Deputy Prime Minister that an enduring investment solution is required.

“The sustainability of the Basin is critical to ensure that access to its precious water by graziers and other users can be sustained over time, and that important springs and other environmental values of the GAB are protected into the future.

“We all have responsibility for the Basin’s future, and it is very pleasing to see the Commonwealth’s ongoing support,” Mr Mahar said.

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