Lake Eyre Basin Rivers 208 Table 20.2. Issues regulated by specific protection measures within the Wild Rivers Act 2005 which protected the values of the Lake Eyre Basin rivers and their floodplains from deleterious developments, and consequences following revocation of this legislation. Issues or development threats Wild Rivers declaration protection measures Consequences of revocation Mining and petroleum and gas exploration and development Special Floodplain Management Areas (SFMAs) and High Preservation Areas (HPAs) Potentially high-impact mining and petroleum & gas exploration and development is no longer prohibited or regulated along the rivers or adjacent floodplains. This could result in: interference with overland flow water and beneficial flooding on floodplains reduced controls on open cut mining, including mining of ‘sensitive areas’ of rivers mining exploration and development having access to secure water supplies for operations outside of the water management framework water supplies required for mining being met from surface water in the rivers or through access to groundwater, such as the Great Artesian Basin. This could compromise the Commonwealth, state and landholder’s investment in the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative. Expansion of irrigation The Cooper Creek water plans have been amended to allow for existing water authorisations to be transferred and traded, subject to some conditions on volumes traded. Overland flows and floodplain connectivity The alteration of overland flows on the floodplains is no longer regulated and this could result in changes to flow patterns of beneficial flooding of the Channel Country. Instream structures No prohibition on the construction of instream structures (weirs and dams) affecting flows. These structures were prohibited under a Wild Rivers declaration, whereas the Water Act manages the take of water for weirs and dams and the Sustainable Planning Act manages the assessment and approval process for these works. New cropping and irrigation development Any new irrigation and cropping developments are not excluded from floodplain areas adjacent to the major rivers. These developments can affect natural overland flow waters and beneficial flooding to downstream landholders. Feedlots Small-scale feedlots will no longer be prohibited in key parts of the riverine area, including those areas that experience overland flooding. Levees to protect these areas may divert water flows and impact on beneficial flooding downstream. All developments Riverine protection permits for any potential developments are not required to comply with the Wild Rivers Code provisions to protect the values of the river. Landholder’s aspirations of a ‘rigid regulation of the resources industry’ will not be able to be delivered.
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