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A combined investment of $20 million by the Australian and Tasmanian governments is set to deliver irrigation infrastructure to Tasmanian farmers and support the growth of their businesses.

The investment includes:

  • $17.1 million for a distribution network for recycled water and a 100 megalitre storage dam in the Bicheno region, providing an additional 64 megalitres per year initially and increasing to 83 megalitres by 2050
  • $3 million to upgrade the 140-year-old Lake Leake Dam to extend its useful life by a further 100 years, maintaining 14.6 gigalitres per year of water for crop and livestock production

The two projects are expected to support around 37 jobs during construction.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce, said getting water to where it’s needed will drive Tasmania’s growth and economic prosperity.

“The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government is getting the job done, building the water infrastructure Australians need to live, grow and get ahead,” Mr Joyce said.

“A safe and reliable water supply will help unlock the economic potential of new and expanded agricultural opportunities, and that’s what these projects will achieve in Tasmania.

“When farmers have the water they need, they can grow their business which means more jobs, more economic opportunities and a better standard of living for them and the people they employ.”

Tasmanian Primary Industries and Water Minister, Guy Barnett, said these investments will deliver much-needed irrigation infrastructure for Tasmanian farmers.

“The Lake Leake project we are announcing today will ensure the ongoing supply of critical irrigation water for future generations of farmers in the Macquarie catchment,” Mr Barnett said.

“The Bicheno recycled water project will provide a highly reliable irrigation supply which will underpin the expansion of high-value cropping in the greater Bicheno area.

“Importantly, these two projects will support ongoing employment in regional communities and help achieve our target of a $10 billion farm-gate value for Tasmanian agriculture by 2050.”

Senator for Tasmania, Claire Chandler, said she had advocated strongly for water infrastructure projects on the East Coast, which would provide vital water for Tasmanian’s agricultural and primary producers.

“The East Coast of Tasmania is prone to drought conditions, and these projects located in the East Coast and Northern Midlands areas will provide farmers and producers with increased access to vital water sources, as well as increase drought resilience in these communities,” Ms Chandler said.

“The Australian Government’s latest funding commitment builds on past investments to deliver the reliable water sources agricultural producers need to prosper.

“As a Government we have now committed more than $156 million towards the development and construction of water infrastructure projects in Tasmania, and we will continue to invest in projects like these that deliver better outcomes for the state.”

The Australian Government is providing $5 million towards the Bicheno recycled water scheme project, with the Tasmanian Government contributing $12.1 million.

The Lake Leake Dam extension will be supported by $1.5 million from the Australian Government, while the Tasmanian Government is providing the remaining $1.5 million.

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