Applications have opened for the federal government’s $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility which will fund priority water infrastructure projects across Australia.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the loans would fast-track construction of the water infrastructure needed to support economic growth and prosperity, and strong and vibrant rural and regional communities.

“Our $57 billion agriculture sector already makes a massive contribution to our nation’s wealth and way of life, but with the right infrastructure in the right place there is still potential to significantly grow our agricultural productivity and profitability,” Mr Joyce said.

“Under the Australian Constitution, state governments are primarily responsible for water management. However, I have noticed an under-investment in new water infrastructure in recent decades.

“That is why we are putting $2 billion of concessional loans on the table for the states and territories to partner with us in delivering the water infrastructure needed to help our agriculture sector reach its full potential.

“I urge state and territory governments to take advantage of this opportunity to get their priority water infrastructure projects off the drawing board and under construction more quickly.”

Expressions of interests received by 16 March 2017 will be assessed before the end of this financial year, and those received by 17 August will be assessed prior to 1 November 2017. Expressions of interest will continue to be accepted until 30 June 2026 or until funding is fully committed.

Projects must have all regulatory and planning approvals in place, and be ready to commence construction within 12 months of funding being approved.

The Loan Facility will complement the $500 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

Expressions of Interest and investment guidelines can be found at agriculture.gov.au/waterloans. 

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