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Artesian Basin Funding Flows Again

16 October 2014

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) today congratulated the Federal Government for its continued commitment to the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative (GABSI), a long-running program that improves the condition of artesian waters.

NFF President Brent Finlay said many farmers had been waiting on tenterhooks since June, when the Federal Government’s previous funding commitment expired.

The Federal Government has today announced $15.9 million over three years to continue to fund its share of infrastructure works to repair uncontrolled artesian bores and replace open earthen bore drains with piped water supplies.

“Uncontrolled flow from bores and open earth bore drains in the Artesian Basin can threaten the health of important groundwater-dependant ecosystems and the continued access to artesian water by farmers. Commitment to continue the program for the next three years is welcome news,” Mr Finlay said.

“The continuation of GABSI has been championed within Government by passionate local members including Bruce Scott MP and Mark Coulton MP. Their perseverance, along with that shown by local farmers and our members AgForce Queensland and NSW Farmers has today paid off.

“The NFF thanks Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Water Senator Simon Birmingham for their commitment to GABSI and their tireless efforts to secure the funds required to continue the initiative.

“In tough times for the Federal Government budget, securing these funds for the next three years provides the baseline investment required for the GABSI program to continue to deliver benefits for both the farmers and the environment that rely on a sustainable Great Artesian Basin.

“We look to the Commonwealth and the States to quickly resolve the administrative arrangements so that capping and piping projects that have been waiting for a green light, will now be able to proceed,” Mr Finlay said.

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