I am pleased to present the 2013-14 Annual Report for the Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee (the Committee).
During the last twelve months the Committee has provided advice to Ministers on Great Artesian Basin (the Basin) management issues, matters raised by stakeholders, Basin issues relating to the Bioregional Assessment program and nominations under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 that relate to the Basin. The Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative (GABSI) is a programme developed to rehabilitate artesian bores in the Basin. This year the Committee has provided advice on two major reports for the GABSI, the Mid Term review of the GABSI Phase 3 and the GABSI Value for Money review. In addition, the Committee has been a unanimous champion for the continuation of the GABSI program to ensure that all capping and piping works have been completed.
The Committee continues to identify and fill information knowledge gaps around the Basin. The two PhD scholarship projects, sponsored by the Committee, are progressing well and will foster scientific information on the behaviour of the Desert Goby fish species and the ecology of invertebrates within the GAB Springs. In addition, an update to the Great Artesian Basin Resource Study is being progressed by the Committee in partnership with the Office of Water Science.
The Committee held a Great Artesian Basin Futures workshop in August 2013 that developed five key indicators to assist in the identification of the Basin's health. The indicators included water flow and quality, aquifer pressure, ecological values, social values and economic values. In late 2013 the Great Artesian Basin Researchers Forum Report was published. The Researchers Forum held in March 2013 bought together research, government and industry representatives to share their knowledge and experience and identify information gaps relating to the Basin. The report is available on the Committee's website.
Communication continues to be an important activity for the Committee and it is continually looking at ways to improve the availability of information to communities in relation to Basin management issues. This year the Committee has upgraded its website, developed a factsheet on Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems and a briefing note on the review of the GABSI that outlines all the works that have been completed to date and the total annual water savings that the GABSI program has achieved. The Committee will continue to develop the information flow with Basin communities.
The key focus for 2014-15 is to provide advice on the review of the Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan (SMP) and the development of the new SMP. The SMP is a 15 year strategic framework for responsible and coordinated groundwater and related natural resource management in the GAB. Our website is the key source of information on the progress of the SMP review. With our main focus being the SMP, the GABCC will continue monitoring over arching whole-of-basin issues, however our resources will be entirely focused on the development of the new SMP.
In concluding this message, I extend my thanks to all GABCC members, GABCC observers and the GABCC Secretariat for their contributions.