Water Regional and Rural Development

Macalister Irrigation District

24 February 2015

Peter Walsh, Leader of The Nationals and Coalition Shadow Minister for Water:

“This is a major opportunity for Victoria and Water Minister Lisa Neville must step up and engage with the Commonwealth Government so that Gippsland irrigators don’t miss out.

“Daniel Andrews is spending billions of dollars on infrastructure for Melbourne but is deaf to the needs of the agricultural industries underpinning regional Victoria.”

Danny O'Brien, The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region and Candidate for Gippsland South:

“Agriculture, especially dairy, underpins a number of Gippsland communities and the MID modernisation has a strong business case. There's a very good chance of leveraging the Commonwealth funds we need to complete the next phase so long as the State Government reinstates the $10 million that was previously on the table.

“More efficient infrastructure will help boost productivity, which in turn will mean stronger farm businesses, jobs and investment for Gippsland.

“I've written to the Government already about the MID project, and I've also issued an invitation to the Water Minister to visit Gippsland so Tim Bull and I can arrange a meeting where local farmers can explain the very strong merits of this project for our region.”

Background

  • · The Macalister Irrigation District (MID) modernisation is a project to upgrade some of Australia's oldest and most inefficient channel irrigation systems.
  • · Stage 1A of the MID modernisation project is already underway, jointly funded with $16 million from Southern Rural Water (therefore customers) and $16 million from Liberal-National Coalition Government in 2012.
  • · The Coalition Government brought the project to the Commonwealth Government's attention, with the result that it was listed as an investment potential in the National Agriculture Green Paper last year.
  • · The Liberal-National Coalition Government also made a further $10 million commitment in November last year to support the start of the next phase of the project.
  • · Details on the MID modernisation project and the $10 million commitment http://vic.nationals.org.au/tags/agriculture
  • · The Victorian Farmers Federation says that a commitment from the Victorian Labor Government on the MID modernisation as a key priority http://www.vff.org.au/vff/Media_Centre/Latest_News/LaborAG.aspx
  • · On Thursday last week the Commonwealth announced a $60 million investment into five irrigation schemes in Tasmania, with the Tasmanian Government contributing $30 million. There is the opportunity for Victoria to leverage funds. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-19/prime-minister-unveils-irrigation-funding-for-tasmania/6144880

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