The Victorian Government has released its budget for 2016/2017 which includes $468million in new investments for water infrastructure in the state.
These investments will help extend Victoria’s water grid, improve waterway health and secure water supplies for homes and businesses.
This funding will continue to be sourced from the Environmental Contribution Levy in support of the Government’s soon to be released Water for Victoria plan, ensuring the state is prepared for challenges such as climate change, population growth, and an increased demand for water.
The investment package includes:
- $222million to improve the health of waterways and catchments through on-ground works such as fencing and revegetation. This will create an estimated 150 jobs a year
- $59.6million to support irrigation modernisation projects and help irrigators improve on-farm water use to adapt to the pressures associated with drought
- $33million to invest in practical programs that improve how we use Victoria’s water
- $25million to prepare Victorians for floods by providing local communities with the best information available to improve flood mitigation measures and build preparedness in floodplain areas
- $58million to upgrade the Wedderburn, Werribee and Bacchus Marsh irrigation districts, which are key suppliers of our fresh produce but reliant on ageing irrigation
- $4.7million to ensure Aboriginal values and knowledge are included in Victoria’s water management, including employing a team of regionally based Aboriginal project officers
Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville said, “Dry conditions and extreme weather events are having a seriously detrimental effect on regional communities across Victoria.
“We forget how important water is – until we lose it. Water security is about our very survival as an economy.
“By investing now to upgrade our water infrastructure, we’ll protect homes, businesses and jobs in the future.”
The funding collected in 2015/16 has been committed to:
- $14.1million in additional funding to deal with rising groundwater in Bendigo
- $30million to provide Nyora, Loch, Korumburra and Poowong with a secure water supply by extending the water grid in South Gippsland. These four towns – currently on Stage 2 water restrictions – will connect to Melbourne’s water system for the first time
The 2016/2017 Victorian budget also includes $20million from the Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund for modernising the Macalister Irrigation District.