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Budget assures ongoing roll-out of irrigation schemes

Thu 17 May 2012

Minister for Primary Industries and Water

The Minister for Primary Industries and Water Bryan Green said today funding in the Budget would ensure the ongoing roll-out of major irrigation projects around Tasmania.

Mr Green said $52 million had been allocated this year for the construction of the Midlands, Lower South Esk and Kindred North Motton irrigation schemes and to progress development of further schemes.

"What we are seeing in Tasmania now is a once in generation investment in new irrigation infrastructure that will sustain growth and jobs in the agricultural sector for decades to come," Mr Green said.

Mr Green said the Government would support the establishment of an Irrigation Development unit within Tasmanian Irrigation together with its commitment within DPIPWE to help capitalise on potential growth.

"This will build on the work of the Wealth from Water pilot program in the Meander Valley Irrigation Area and part of the Midlands which is due to be completed by the end of the year.

"The Wealth from Water program has been invaluable in providing information to farmers to assist in making decisions on land use, enterprise mix and the sustainable water management.

"The information and tools to support irrigation and investment decisions will continue to be available for use by farmers and service providers.
"The Government is committed to delivering the water surety farmers need to underpin existing production and expand and diversify their businesses.

"It is providing confidence for farmers to invest, jobs for Tasmanians and a boost for regional and rural communities.

The first major scheme under the Government's irrigation expansion program was completed at Whitemore in the State's north last year.
"We already have six schemes complete or under construction and a further four at various stages of development.

Mr Green said the start of construction on the $104 million Midlands scheme next month was a major milestone.

"The Midlands scheme is the biggest irrigation project ever undertaken in Tasmania and will provide 150 direct jobs alone during its two year- construction.

"We have seen the enormous benefits irrigation has brought to the Coal Valley and the Midlands scheme will provide 10 times that amount of water.

Budget assures ongoing roll-out of irrigation schemes