The Cooper Creek Basin Wild River Declaration Proposal 2010 was released for public comment on 14 December 2010. Should organisations wish to make any submissions these must be received by the Government before 5pm on 29 April 2011.
The proposed boundary covers about 243,000 square kilometres as outlined in the map on the next page.
Once a wild river area is declared the requirements of existing legislation including the Wild Rivers Act 2005(Qld) (and regulations) and the Wild Rivers Code as well as any requirements in relation to the declaration (collectively called ‘wild river requirements’) will apply.
The Wild Rivers Act coordinates a number of other pieces of legislation which cover activities related to water, vegetation management, mineral resources, environmental protection and sustainable planning.
Companies can take heart in the fact that wild river requirements will only apply to certain types of new activities. Authorisations for activities already undertaken or planned and which were in place at the time of a wild river declaration are not subject to wild river requirements.
Depending on its type and proposed location, a new activity may not be permitted, may need to comply with wild river requirements or may not be subject to wild river requirements at all.
In highly sensitive areas, such as ‘high preservation’ and ‘special floodplain management’ areas within the boundary of a wild river area, many new activities that will cause negative impacts will be prohibited. This will include surface mining and some petroleum activities. However, limited petroleum activities, specified works and low impact exploration activities can still occur.
A moratorium has been issued and applies from 17 December 2010 for the purposes of legislation covering water, vegetation management and mineral resources. Importantly, though, the moratorium does not apply to works including the taking of water for mining or petroleum tenements.
The purpose of the moratorium is to preserve the natural values of the proposed area until a decision is made to declare or not declare the area as a wild river area. Amongst other things, it will place restrictions on the granting and renewal of mining tenements in the wild river area during the moratorium period.
As we understand it, the Government is very keen for community consultation and involvement. Stakeholders and other interested parties are being encouraged to contact wild rivers officers to find out more.
Further details can be found at www.derm.qld.gov.au
Cooper Creek Basin Wild River Declaration Proposal 201 can be found at: http://www. derm.qld.gov.au/wildrivers/coopercreek/pdf/ cooper-creek-declaration-proposal.pdf
Click here for map