THE management of the Mount Morgan Mine site has continued to contribute to surrounding waterways, likely leading to the Callide catchment once again being labelled the worst performing in the Fitzroy Basin.

In a bid to improve the health of the waterways, the Queensland Government has set aside over $4 million to deal with the site's management, including water resources.

Five years ago, flooding and mine site water releases left a bad taste in the mouths of Central Queensland residents.

Concerned about waterway health, the Queensland Government established an independent partnership which started grading rivers in the Fitzroy Basin in 2011.

In that time, the area has improved its grades, jumping from a C in 2010-11 to a B in 2013-14.

The release of the 2014-15 report card yesterday revealed this trend had been maintained.

Fitzroy Partnership for River Health executive officer Nathan Johnston said the five reports revealed the ecosystem health had been maintained, with "no significant degradation of results" in that time.

"We believe that management changes being implemented by the various sectors across the basin are delivering waterway health benefits," he said.

But what has contributed to the improvement?

Mr Johnston said programs aimed at reducing sediment, erosion and pesticide run-off in agriculture as well as stricter mining and coal seam gas controls and sewage treatment plan upgrades had helped maintain the B grade.

Although Cyclone Marcia hit the region hard in February 2015, the natural disaster's impacts on the basin as a whole were limited to the Estuary, Fitzroy and Callide catchments.

The Callide catchment has remained the worst performing.

Mr Johnston said ongoing issues with the historic Mount Morgan Mine site were likely to have contributed to the poor result.

"While management of the site has ramped up in recent years, the lack of attention from past generations has left a legacy that continues to cause issues for downstream waterways," he said.

"This is primarily due to the pit wall leaching and, more recently, overflows due to significant rain events."

Minister for State Development and Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham announced $4.3 million would be allocated to the management of the site in the Queensland Budget.

Of this, he said $2.2 million had been set aside for water management.

"We know the task of rehabilitating the Mount Morgan Mine site is complex, given the management of mine waste materials at the site in the past," he said.

"We're encouraged by Carbine Resources' interest in the mine site."

Results snapshot

  • Upper Isaac: C
  • Lower Isaac: C
  • Connors: B
  • Estuary: B
  • Fitzroy: B
  • Callide: C
  • Mackenzie: C
  • Lower Dawson: B
  • Upper Dawson: B
  • Comet: C
  • Nogoa: B
  • Theresa: B
  • Drinking water: A


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