Lake Eyre Basin Rivers 220 complied with. Local government also had power to control works on a floodplain under now-superseded legislation, but the Balonne Shire Council declined to do so (Tan 2000). The concept of designation was adopted from New South Wales where there had been 13 successful designations of floodplain areas. In Queensland, the object of designation was to beneficially manage floodplain flow by ensuring authorisation of only those works that had a minimum impact on other landholders. One attempt was made to designate part of the floodplain of the Lower Balonne but, on the basis of 39 objections, the Department approved the designation with smaller boundaries than originally proposed. Stevenson, one of the owners of Cubbie Station (see Chapter 14 Fig. 21.2), applied to the Supreme Court for a declaration that the designation was invalid. In Re Stevenson v Wenk (1992) 1 Queensland Review 44, the court ruled that as the designation occurred without re-advertising the redrawn boundaries of the affected floodplain, the designation was invalid. The Department could have restarted the process in compliance with the court order but did not. As a result there was no effective control of floodplain works. The Department’s own records over the five years 1994–99 showed that combined off-stream dam storage in the Condamine–Balonne grew fourfold from 247 000 ML in 1993–94 to 827 000 ML in mid-1999 (Queensland Department of Natural Resources 2000, p. 16). There were two other significant court cases (1994–96) relating to resource security during Cubbie Station’s development in the Lower Balonne. Cubbie held at least two licences for diversion channels from the Balonnne and Culgoa Rivers, and other water harvesting licences. It also had extensive irrigation works that were not licensed. Expecting the Fig. 21.2. Flows in the Condamine–Balonne and associated rivers could be pumped with large water harvesting licences into extremely large off river storages, such as this on Cubbie Station with 538 800 ML of storage, enough to fill Sydney Harbour (Sydney Morning Herald 2009).
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