By Growcom CEO David Thomson

After a year of negotiation, the peak representative body for Queensland horticulture, Growcom has welcomed the Queensland Government’s finalisation late last year of the Moreton Water Plan which will give Central Lockyer farmers a new water management system to help grow their businesses in 2020.

The new model is vital win for Queensland’s salad bowl after last year the State Government backtracked on proposed water allocations that would have crippled the region’s growers’ productivity.

We commend the Department of Natural Resources and Minister Lynham in particular for the way they responded when more than 1000 concerned farmers objected to the original proposal in formal submissions.

Growcom would like to thank the Queensland Farmers’ Federation and growers in the Lockyer Valley who should be rightly proud of the role they played in the delivery of the improved plan.

This is a great example of trickle-up water policy development, where the government was willing to accept advice and meaningfully engaging with growers to reach a win-win.

Water is the most important input into the $2.8 billion Queensland horticulture industry. Having access to a secure water supply is of paramount importance to all growers, and indeed all of us.

This year is shaping as critical in ensuring growers have long term secure access to water so our communities have a secure food supply.

In 2020 the Granite Belt Irrigation Project has to get over the line, serious questions on the future of Paradise Dam must be answered, and policy positions on new water metering requirements will be decided.

But for now in the Lockyer, with the amended Moreton Water Plan officially in place the next step is for the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Seqwater to outline individual water allocations.

Expected to be completed by late February, these allocations will stipulate how much water farmers and businesses are entitled to, and also allow them to buy and sell their water allocations as their businesses require.