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BTRE report links investment and water certainty.



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John Forrest MP The Nationals Member for Mallee

Phone (03) 5032 4510 Fax (03) 5032 9407

Thursday, 27 November 2003

BTRE Report Links Investment and Water Certainty

John Forrest, The Nationals Federal Member for Mallee today urged stakeholders along the Murray River to refer to a report that looks into the links between water security and investment trends. The Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics (BTRE) report Investment trends in the Lower Murray Darling Basin, was recently released by Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson.

"This is a critical issue for the development and sustainability of this part of my electorate and the report looks at the economic and social situations of three regions that are dependent on irrigated agriculture and water sourced from the Murray River," Mr Forrest said.

The regions - Riverland, Sunraysia and Central Murray - straddle the Murray River across three States: New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The report found those areas with high levels of reliability of water, have levels of investment in agriculture up to seven times greater than those areas with less reliable supplies. In associated manufacturing there was up to 29 times more investment for every megalitre of water used.

"A key finding in the report found that uncertainty about water supplies dominates the investment decisions of key players in the regions and that water reliability issues play a major role in investment patterns," Mr Forrest said.

"Investment is linked to the overall well-being of communities. The high investment communities enjoy greater income, larger populations, higher economic growth and stronger employment. Given the importance of irrigation in these regions, reliable access to water is needed to provide a secure foundation for investment.

"The findings of Investment trends in the Lower Murray Darling Basin clearly support one of the key principles of the National Water Initiative: secure water access rights, and together with John Anderson I will continue to work towards this outcome,” said Mr Forrest.

The report relied on extensive information gathered in the field from individuals and organisations in the Mildura area and the Riverland, Sunraysia and Central Murray communities, supported by statistical analysis of data from the Agricultural Census and the Australian Bureau of Statistics Manufacturing Survey.

The report is accessible at www.btre.gov.au

Media Contact Sally Turvey (03) 5032 4510 -ends-