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Coalition invests in the future of irrigated agriculture in Tasmania



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THE HON. BARNABY JOYCE MP DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND WATER RESOURCES

THE HON. JEREMY ROCKLIFF MP DEPUTY PREMIER MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRIES AND WATER

MR ERIC HUTCHINSON MP FEDERAL MEMBER FOR LYONS

17 June 2016

COALITION INVESTS IN THE FUTURE OF IRRIGATED AGRICULTURE IN TASMANIA

The Federal and Tasmanian Governments today announced nearly $20 million of investment into the future of irrigated agriculture in Tasmania.

Farmers and local communities on the east coast of Tasmania are set to reap the benefits from modern and efficient water infrastructure, with the two governments announcing more than $18 million in funding for the Swan Valley Irrigation Scheme as part of the Tasmanian Irrigation Tranche Two Program.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce said the Coalition would also invest a further $1.78 million into a total $2.5 million project with the Tasmanian Government to fast-track a feasibility study into potential new areas in Tasmania for developing irrigation schemes.

“Irrigation contributed to 28 per cent of Australia's agricultural production in 2012-13, adding $13.4 billion in gross value to our nation’s bottom line—so effective water infrastructure is clearly essential for our nation’s continued growth and prosperity,” Minister Joyce said.

“We know the Swan Valley is a region with enormous potential for high-value viticulture and horticulture—it’s home to producers like Brown Brothers and Walnuts Australia, as well as many other smaller award-winning vineyards and horticultural properties.

“Currently, limited water supply and low water security are impeding expansion of irrigated agriculture in the region - and we want to fix that.”

Federal Member for Lyons Eric Hutchinson said the Commonwealth would contribute $10 million to the $18.18 million Swan Valley scheme as part of the $60 million commitment to Tranche Two.

“Water security is crucial to regional development across Australia and Tasmanian Irrigation has a great track record of delivering these projects in close partnership with irrigators and government,” Mr Hutchinson said.

“Agricultural exports are making a significant contribution to our nation’s economy and prosperity, with rural exports now our second-largest export.

“The Coalition is laying the foundations to support a productive and profitable agriculture sector through irrigation, transport and digital infrastructure.

“Projects like this are important drivers of regional economic growth, and the Swan Valley Irrigation Scheme will deliver ongoing stimulus and benefits to the region for many years to come, including through the direct creation of an estimated 16 full-time equivalent jobs.”

Deputy Premier of Tasmania and Minister for Primary Industries and Water Jeremy Rockliff said the Swan Valley Scheme further demonstrated how irrigation development is a true- partnership between farmers and state and federal governments.

“The Tasmanian Government will also be contributing $5 million, while local irrigators will contribute $3 million in capital costs plus a significant additional investment into the associated on-farm infrastructure,” Minister Rockliff said.

“The scheme involves the construction of a new 3,000ML rock and earth dam, and associated delivery infrastructure.

“The new Melrose Dam will deliver 2,000ML of highly reliable irrigation water to 8,000 hectares of irrigable land each year, unlocking a wealth of opportunities for farmers in the region.

“Delivering highly reliable irrigation across the state is a key part of the Tasmanian Government’s AgriVision 2050, our plan to grow the value of Tasmanian agriculture tenfold by 2050.”

The $2.5 million feasibility study, will build further on the current rollout of the Tranche Two Irrigation Schemes in Tasmania.

Mr Hutchinson, a passionate advocate for irrigation development, said the Commonwealth was expediting the planning work required to get additional water infrastructure projects shovel-ready.

“The Government is serious about ensuring water infrastructure gets built as quickly as possible, to help support strong regional economies and communities,” Mr Hutchinson said.

Minister Rockliff explained that the feasibility project enables the findings of the Tasmanian Future Irrigation Project to be fast-tracked and the areas with the greatest potential for investment in new irrigation schemes evaluated.

“The Tasmanian Future Irrigation Project provides a blueprint for the continued transformation of agriculture across Tasmania, and I’m pleased to today release the Final Report prepared by Tasmanian Irrigation,” Minister Rockliff said.

“Tasmanian Irrigation will now consult with local communities to undertake feasibility studies into potential new irrigation projects, initially in the Flowerdale, Pipers River, Detention River, Tamar Valley, Fingal Valley, Southern Midlands, Macquarie Cressy and Sassafras Wesley Vale districts.

“We expect Tasmanian Irrigation to make their final recommendations to Government by the end of 2018.”

Media Contacts: Minister Joyce: Gerard McManus - 0477 391 580 Minister Rockliff: Danielle McKay - 0438 390 273 Mr Hutchinson: Cassandre Tickner-Smith - 0437 129 796