Task force to ensure water supply in the north
A CABINET level taskforce will start looking for new opportunities to build dams across Australia, including in northern areas of the continent.
The taskforce, launched by Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce on Friday, will identify investment opportunities to fast-track new dams where they are most needed.
Members include Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, Environment Minister Greg Hunt and outer ministry representatives from regional development (Jamie Briggs) and environment, Simon Birmingham.
Mr Joyce said the new "ministerial working group" would be looking to ensure water to agriculture and regional communities to meet expected population demands of 35 million by 2050.
It will likely form part of a raft of reviews and inquiries on foot, including the Northern Australia Select committee inquiry, agriculture and energy white papers.
Senator Birmingham said the group would also look at options including harvesting and storing water in underground aquifers, with a focus on "sustainability" of supply.
The group will release a "water infrastructure options paper" by July this year, to form part of the white papers on agriculture and Northern Australia.