Energy, irrigation and light rail projects have been listed as priorities in the Tasmanian Government’s latest referral to Infrastructure Australia’s Priority List.

Minister for Infrastructure, Rene Hidding, said the Hobart light rail project, the third stage of the Tasmanian Irrigation Project, and energy projects had been added to the state’s top infrastructure aspirations as part of the latest referral to the Infrastructure Australia Priority list.

“These priorities meet Tasmania’s future infrastructure needs across energy, irrigation and public transport, and have the potential to create thousands of jobs across the state,” Mr Hidding said.

“Importantly, all of these projects support Tasmania’s comparative advantages such as our capacity for additional renewable energy, our high rainfall, and the Hodgman Government’s decision to protect the rail corridor from Hobart to Granton for future light rail opportunities.”

Mr Hidding said the referral will “add weight” behind the case to progress the light rail project as part of the Hobart City Deal.

“With regards to irrigation, Tranches one and two of the Tasmanian Irrigation Scheme have provided access to quality, reliable irrigation water in many parts of the state but it is clear there are still opportunities to increase the productive capacity of our farming sector,” Mr Hidding said.

Additional irrigation schemes, interconnections between existing schemes and augmentation projects are also identified in the submission, which Mr Hidding said was consistent with the government’s Sustainable Agri-Food Plan 2016-18, and the government’s target to increase the value of agriculture 10-fold to $10 billion a year by 2050.

Mr Hidding said Tasmania’s abundant renewable energy resources places them in a unique position to become the renewable energy battery of the nation.

“That is why the Battery of the Nation Project has been identified as a key infrastructure priority that can help provide cheaper power and more reliable energy while also resulting in more jobs for Tasmanians.

“We have already identified that Tasmania has the potential to develop more than 2500MW of new renewable energy capacity, and the Battery of the Nation Project can help advance projects that can not only power Tasmania but also be transferred into the National Energy Market.”

Mr Hidding said the referral also identifies other new developments such as wind projects, pumped hydro and improvements to the existing electricity supply system, in addition to how a second interconnector would increase energy security at both a national and Tasmanian level.  

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