The federal government is investing $3.9 million to fund nine water infrastructure feasibility studies in Victoria, as part of the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
Applications are now open for a share of the remaining $192.5 million in capital funding.
The funding has been officially signed off by both the federal and Victorian state governments, in a move intended to improve economic growth and prosperity in the region.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the government was honouring its election commitment to deliver water infrastructure where it was needed and ensure agricultural industries remained productive and profitable.
“Victoria represents just three per cent of Australia’s land area but generates 25 per cent the total value of our agricultural production, so it is vital we secure water delivery for its future,” Mr Joyce said.
“The studies will look at the feasibility, economic returns and sustainability of a broad range of projects, to get them shovel-ready as quickly as possible.
“The projects include a reticulated water supply in the Mitiamo region, the Southern Victorian Irrigation Development to identify ways to expand the area under irrigation and increase agricultural productivity and phase two of the Macalister Irrigation District project.
“This is not simply a planning exercise, we are already building on these feasibility studies by rolling out the $440 million capital works component of the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.”
Federal Member for Murray, Damian Drum, said construction of the South West Loddon pipeline, through $20 million in federal funding, highlighted the government’s commitment to providing water security to irrigators.
“The project involves the construction of an additional 1,200km of pipeline to connect West Waranga Channel with the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline,” Mr Drum said.
“The pipeline will supply around 780 megalitres of water, providing a secure water supply for the first time to 600 local landholders that, until now, have relied heavily on rainfall and catchment dams, while creating 130 local jobs in the area.”
Mr Joyce was joined by the Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, to deliver on the government’s $20 million election commitment for capital funding to modernise water infrastructure in the Macalister Irrigation District in the state’s South East.
“The Macalister Irrigation District produces world-class dairy, vegetable and other high-value products, and is a major source of jobs in Gippsland. This funding will increase the irrigation growth potential by 9000 hectares, creating more jobs in the dairy industry,” Mr Chester said.
“The current irrigation system is outdated and in need of an upgrade. The MID2030 project will enable the supply system to operate at its optimum and provide 9700 megalitres in savings by eliminating water wastage.”
“Applications are now open for state and territory governments to submit projects to be considered for a share of the remaining $192.5 million in capital funding,” Mr Joyce said.
“And we will be building on this funding with the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility, which will help get even more water infrastructure projects under construction as quickly as possible.”
The water infrastructure feasibility projects include:
- $750,000 for a feasibility study into the Mitiamo reticulated water supply system
- $677,160 for a feasibility study into the Southern Victorian Irrigation Development
- $675,000 for a feasibility study into the second phase of the Macalister Irrigation District development
- $554,400 for a feasibility study into ways to increase water storage for Gippsland’s Lindenow Valley, delivering greater water security for the region
- $540,000 to fast-track a feasibility study into new agricultural precincts west of Melbourne
- $300,000 for a feasibility study into developing a coldstream recycled-water pipeline for high value production in the Yarra Valley and Lilydale
- $180,000 for a feasibility study of a Moonambel water supply project
- $100,000 for a feasibility study into accessing deep groundwater for farmers in south-west coastal Victoria
- $91,500 for a feasibility study into developing a water plan for South East Melbourne to support intensive horticulture in the region