ABC’s Annie Guest writes: Queensland’s Gulf country touted as the nation’s next food bowl.

Pic suggestion - photo of fresh food produce

Plans are afoot to capture monsoonal rain to irrigate smaller designed development projects in the Gulf country. The initial trial will be irrigation projects for beef and crop development on the Flinders and Gilbert rivers, both of which flow into the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Dreams of northern development are not new, but two years ago a CSIRO report cast doubt on vast irrigation, saying harnessing monsoonal downpours was “not supported by evidence”.

Regional Development Minister Mr Simon Crean says the Federal Government has focused the work of the CSIRO to come up with today’s plan. Richmond Shire Council Mayor John Wharton supports the plan, which he says has relevance for everyone.

“You’ll be able to stop eating so much beef from China,” Mayor Wharton said.

The Queensland and federal governments have announced a $10 million strategy to trial irrigation agriculture projects in the Gulf of Carpentaria region that would use off-river weirs and water storages rather than massive dams.

Mr Crean said: “The science is telling us that we can do this in a way that addresses both environmental concerns and more productive capacity, it’s that balance that produces the win-win.”

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