The Australian Government today confirmed funding of $19.5 million for a new irrigation scheme to increase horticultural, viticultural and farm productivity in south east Tasmania, creating up to 330 jobs.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment Simon Birmingham said the South East Irrigation Scheme involves construction of a 200 megalitre dam, installation of three pump stations and laying 82 kilometres of new pipelines for water delivery.
It is funded under the $140 million Supporting More Efficient Irrigation in Tasmania program initiated as a result of the former Howard Government’s 2007 National Plan for Water Security.
“The South East Irrigation Scheme will deliver around 3,000 million litres of high reliability water to irrigators in south east Tasmania, stretching from Brighton to Forcett,” Senator Birmingham said.
“This Scheme will help to secure a long-term sustainable future for the region through an increase in the production of fresh market vegetables, stone fruit and cool climate wine grapes.
“Government support for this irrigation scheme is consistent with the Coalition’s agenda of building on our strengths in agriculture exports as one of our stated five pillars towards creating stronger jobs growth by building a diverse, word-class five-pillar economy.
“The South East Irrigation Scheme is a great opportunity for Tasmania’s agricultural sector and will create new opportunities for jobs and regional development.”
Individual water users will require an accredited Farm Water Access Plan to optimise irrigation water use efficiency by adopting new irrigation technology and industry best practice, while protecting environmental values.
The Tasmanian Government has committed funding of $4.57 million to the $33.02 million project, with the remainder funded from industry contributions.
Thorough research to assess the long and short-term environmental, social and economic impacts of the project has been conducted as part of the approval process.