Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative

​On 16 October 2014 the Australian Government announced the extension of the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative (GABSI) program for an additional 3 years through to 30 June 2017. This extension will provide governments with the opportunity to work with industry and communities to develop a possible private sector model for delivery in the future to ensure a sustainable future for the Great Artesian Basin.

GABSI is a joint program between the Australian, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australian and Northern Territory governments to provide funding support to repair uncontrolled bores that threaten the long-term sustainability of the Great Artesian Basin.

GABSI will continue to be delivered through state agencies. Funding of projects under the programme does require third-party contributions and details of this contribution is determined by individual state and territory governments.

The formal funding arrangements are set out under the GABSI F​unding Agreement (PDF), signed by the Australian, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australian and Northern Territory governments.

It is a joint responsibility of the Australian Government and the state and territory governments to agree on annual projects.

Proposed projects will be assessed on a case-by-case basis against agreed eligibility criteria, which are set out under the Funding Agreement. The assessment will take into account consistency with the project eligibility criteria and the ‘value for money’ of the projects, having particular regard to the cost of each proposed project compared to the water estimated to be saved for the environment and the degree of protection to high-value natural springs. Priority will be given to projects that include an agreement by the landholder to monitor and meter water usage.

Past GABSI programmes

The Australian Government has invested more than $112 million over 15 years (1999-2014)

The GABSI program was reviewed in December 2007, during the second f5-year phase of GABSI:

The mid-term review for GABSI 3 was completed in February 2013. The review found that significant achievements had been accomplished and that future groundwater management in the GAB should be based on a thorough assessment of priorities, eligibility criteria and funding arrangements. It also recommended conducting a value for money review of GABSI across the three phases, and the development of objective metrics to determine whether continued government funding could be justified beyond GABSI 3.

As recommended in the mid-term review of GABSI Phase 3, a value for money review of GABSI using a total economic valuation (TEV) approach was completed in January 2014. The objectives of the review was to objectively measure trends in the return on investment achieved by respective governments (Commonwealth and states) over the three phases of GABSI and assess whether the completion of the GABSI 3 represents value for money.

GABSI state office contacts

For further information on the delivery of the GABSI contact your local state officer.


Queensland Government call centre 07 4529 1355 or email GABSI Admin

New South Wales

NSW GABSI call centre 02 6721 9810