North Queensland based Senator Ian Macdonald today welcomed the CSIRO's report confirming the viability of irrigated cropping in the Flinders and Gilbert River catchments in North Queensland.
"When working on the Coalition's policy for developing Northern Australia, we had significant evidence that the Gilbert and Flinders rivers development would be an integral component of our plan," Senator Macdonald said.
"The CSIRO's confirmation of its viability is a welcome development which complements the work we have already done on developing the North and which will continue with the Government's White Paper on Northern Australia due in September this year.
Senator Macdonald said that the report would give confidence to those looking at investing in Northern Australia.
"I congratulate the various northern councils on their hard work on irrigation proposals over many years and I am delighted to see both the Queensland and Commonwealth governments working proactively on this issue.
"It is a complete contrast to the previous State and Federal governments both of which relied on Green votes to hand on to power and therefore did not provide the leadership needed to give impetus to development of the North.
‘We can now see that our belief in the vision of so many trailblazers was completely justified.".
Senator Macdonald said that the report would encourage irrigation iniatives that would make a big difference to the region.
"In terms of jobs and economic development, the Gilbert and Flinders catchments, if properly and sustainably utilised will significantly boost the agricultural sector in North Queensland and should be the start of new and exciting developments across North Australia," Senator Macdonald said.
"What this report shows is that with good scientific advice reinforcing vision, enterprise and faith in the north, everything is possible," he said.