Table 7.1. Important community events, development proposals and government legislation (1995–2016), with their timing, description and implications affecting decisions about the sustainability of the rivers of the Lake Eyre Basin. Event Date Description Implications World Heritage Listing recommendation 1985 Recommendation by the Australian Government to list the Lake Eyre Basin in South Australia on the World Heritage List Strong reaction from pastoralists claiming that this would negatively affect their livelihoods and land values Proposal to irrigate from Cooper Creek at Currareva, near Windorah 1995 A group of developers, the Currareva Partnership, proposed to divert water (42 000 ML per year) from Cooper Creek to large storages on the floodplain for large-scale irrigation. This development was initially supported by the Queensland Government of the time, which granted water licences. There was widespread concern within a community which was well aware of the lessons learnt from large-scale irrigation in the neighbouring Murray– Darling Basin. Birdsville meeting Involved disparate communities, including pastoralists, Traditional Owners, conservationists, scientists and government officers Formation of an overarching advisory group the Lake Eyre Basin Steering Group with representatives from the Australian Government and governments of Queensland and South Australia Cooper Creek Scientific Workshop 1996 In response to the Currareva proposal, the Cooper’s Creek Protection Group, conservationists and scientists organised a workshop to discuss the merits and potential implications of such a development. There was widespread coverage of the workshop in the media and the communique was provided to the Queensland Government. Strong partnerships were forged. Lake Eyre Basin Heads of Agreement 1997 The Australian, Queensland and South Australian governments signed this agreement to focus their commitment on managing the Lake Eyre Basin as a unified, connected system. This set up the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement with commitments from the two states and the Australian Government to protect the rivers of the Lake Eyre Basin. Draft Water Management Plan for Cooper Creek This recommended an allocation of 22 500 ML per year from the Thomson and Barcoo Rivers. This was strongly opposed by the local community, scientists and environmentalists. Lake Eyre Basin Coordinating Group formed 1998 Establishment of a group to represent the community and provide advice for the management of the Lake Eyre Basin Strong leadership with semi-autonomy for directing funds and investing in the Lake Eyre Basin Lake Eyre Basin Rivers 80
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