Lake Eyre Basin Rivers 234 ciliaris), favoured by some graziers, appears to have negative impacts on biodiversity and alters fire regimes, exacerbated by climate change (Fensham et al. 2015 Martin et al. 2015). Many introduced mammals (e.g. pigs, goats and rabbits) affect the sustainability of the rivers of the Lake Eyre Basin, and large animals such as camels can damage, drain or destroy waterholes during dry periods. Last, tourists can cause considerable damage to waterholes, sites of high attraction (Silcock 2010), through littering and collection of firewood (Schmiechen 2004), although this needs to be balanced against the local scale of this impact, the opportunities for education of the values of the rivers, engagement and tourism’s contribution to the economy. Policy, legislation and practice for sustainability Much of this book has focused on the threat of water resource development and its associated demonstrated costs, as well as options for controlling deleterious development. Despite these known costs to Australians and our environments, governments continue to pursue water resource development, reflecting our history (Gibbs 2009). This is most clearly demonstrated by the current Australian Government’s policy to develop northern Australia (Australian Government 2015), including expenditure of more than half a billion dollars (http://www. and concessional loans of $2 billion. The Flinders River, just north of the Thomson River catchment in the Lake Eyre Basin, is a clear target for development, with cotton irrigation already established and a plan for a $200 million development of 15 000 ha of cotton near Normanton, pumping 150 000 ML of water from the Flinders River (Zonca 2015). These developments are in desert regions, similar to those previously proposed on the rivers of the Lake Eyre Basin. There is little discussion of long-term costs: development is driven by current policy and legislation. Unfortunately, environmental legislation, policy and political will are weak in the face of counterpart development instruments (see Chapters 20 and 21). Ambition to develop water resources of the rivers of the Lake Eyre Basin has primarily originated in Queensland, the state with the most dependable supply of river water (see Chapter 20). Access to this water is governed by Queensland policy and legislation, principally water and mining legislation. Strong environmental protection was enacted through the Wild Rivers legislation and its associated policies and regulations, but was subsequently revoked, despite overwhelming support for the controls to remain in place (see Chapter 21). Current legislation and policy in Queensland leave the rivers and their sustainability highly vulnerable to development pressure. The community, its champions and partnerships continue to offer the most promising path to sustainable solutions, influencing legislation, policy and practice (see Chapter 7). Institutionally, the Intergovernmental Agreement over the Lake Eyre Basin remains critically important, but is relatively weak on enforcing provisions for enforcement of sustainable river management (see Chapter 21). This legislative framework provides a high- level platform for sustainability discussions between participating states of Queensland and South Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Government. It makes sense to build on this legislation and policy for the Lake Eyre Basin as it aims, commendably, to
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