Why is the Channel Country and Lake Eyre Basin Important?
The Channel Country rivers of western Queensland that fill Lake Eyre deliver vital water to graziers, local communities and support abundant birdlife and other wildlife as well.
The rivers of the Channel Country are unique around the world not simply because they flow inland, but because they are still healthy. They still flood naturally, recharging groundwater and filling Lake Eyre.
The fact that a multi-million dollar beef industry co-exists with the natural flow and function of the rivers, and the abundant wildlife that depends on them, is clear evidence that a smart balance has already been found.
Lake Eyre is fed by the rivers of Channel Country, which rank among the last healthy, unregulated river systems on Earth. Any type of mining, shale gas extraction or large scale irrigation would cause permanent damage and local communities have made their concerns about this very clear.
The Lake Eyre Basin is the beating heart of Outback Australia and local communities in western Queensland and in South Australia realise cross-border co-operation is needed to prevent another Murray-Darling disaster occurring.
There has already been four years of careful discussion about the future of the Channel Country rivers. An unprecedented community-driven consensus has been reached in Channel Country to safeguard the three key rivers that pulse through the region’s heart and are the lifeblood of the premium beef industry.
The removal by the LNP Government of the strong protective legislation afforded by the Wild Rivers legislation covering the main Channel Country rivers defied the expressed wishes of a wide range of local communities, local Members of Parliament and other authorities.
The re-instatement of wild rivers type protection and the sustainable management of the Region’s ground-water resources based on continued community support for such measures is a pre-requisite for a sustainable economy underpinning the survival of the Region’s communities.