Following the Federal Budget announcement that Tasmania will receive $80 million in funding for water and irrigation projects, Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Guy Barnett, has announced that construction of the Don Irrigation Scheme will begin in 2021.

It follows a positive response to water sales from landholders in the Don district, with the scheme to create 90 FTE jobs during construction and approximately 45 on-farm and indirect jobs once it’s operating at peak capacity.

“Agriculture is a key part of the Tasmanian economy, which is why the State and Commonwealth Governments have already committed $185 million to deliver irrigation infrastructure to support rural and regional Tasmania,” Mr Barnett said.

“This is working to create jobs in the state’s regional areas and expanding farm production to meet the growing demand for Tasmania’s premium produce.”

Mr Barnett said the Federal Government’s announcement of an additional $2 billion in funding for projects through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund in the 2020 Federal Budget is welcome news and only serves to further strengthen the industry.

When complete, the estimated $28.5 million Don Irrigation Scheme will provide 4,750 megalitres of high-surety, fit-for-purpose summer irrigation water to farmers in the Forthside, Forth, Lillico, Don, Barrington, West Kentish and Melrose areas.

The Don Irrigation Scheme is the first of ten Tranche Three irrigation projects to progress through the planning and approvals process.

“We will continue to work with the Australian Government to deliver our Pipeline to Prosperity state-wide irrigation plan, which is expected to provide almost 78,000 megalitres of water, create up to 2,600 full-time jobs, trigger an additional $150 million in on-farm private investment and inject an estimated $114 million each year into the sector, and economy more broadly.

“We also welcome the inclusion of Project Marinus as one of three projects to share in $250 million in transmission projects as we continue discussions to finalise a Memorandum of Understanding for the project that will also form the basis for a Special Purpose Vehicle to progress this exciting project to Financial Investment Decision by 2024.

“Marinus Link represents an intergenerational opportunity to make Tasmania a global leader and the renewable energy powerhouse of Australia, and it will play a key role as we rebuild from COVID-19 by creating billions of dollars in economic activity, significant opportunities across the supply chain and thousands of Tasmanian jobs – particularly in regional areas.”

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