The Australian and New South Wales Governments today announced a $350 million package of new irrigation efficiency projects across New South Wales. 

“The Australian Government is contributing an extra $125 million of funding to the revised package, bringing total Australian Government funding for New South Wales to nearly $1.5 billion,” said Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment.  

“The new funding contributed by the Australian Government is helping to deliver on our promise to deliver the Basin Plan in full and on time, while supporting a viable irrigation industry and sustainable food production for strong regional communities across the Murray-Darling Basin.  

“The package delivers on the commitments we made in our Water Recovery Strategy and by investing in projects that deliver improved water use efficiency, we can address Basin Plan water recovery targets while minimising the impact on regional communities.

“The new package will include expanding the successful NSW Irrigated Farm Modernisation Project, introducing a new round of funding under the Private Irrigation Infrastructure Operators Program and boosting funding under the Commonwealth On-farm Irrigation Efficiency Program for NSW.

“The types of irrigation infrastructure upgrades that these programmes provide will improve on-farm water efficiency and productivity, whilst providing a share of the water savings to the Commonwealth for ongoing environmental use.

“And it is not just irrigators who see the benefits of such investments. At the local level, benefits flow on to other local businesses and services during construction and beyond,” he said.

NSW Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water Kevin Humphries said the funding package will result in more efficient and effective use of vital water resources in irrigation communities across the Basin.

“I have listened to the concerns of industry and the community and have been working with the Commonwealth to develop a better package of projects to ensure the best outcome for irrigators, regional communities and the environment,” he said.

“Through initiatives such as the NSW Irrigated Farm Modernisation Project, the NSW Government is leading the way in improving the long term sustainability of regional communities by allowing irrigators to maintain or improve productivity, adapt to reduced water availability and provide water back to the environment through upgrading irrigation infrastructure.

“Efficient water use sustains our regional communities and the NSW Government will continue to work with the Federal Government to drive the efficiencies required to support a healthy and productive Murray-Darling Basin that in turn supports our vibrant regional communities.”

“In recovering water for the environment, our key priority is to ensure the Murray-Darling Basin remains Australia’s food bowl. I look forward to continuing to work with the NSW Government to achieve positive outcomes for communities in the Murray-Darling Basin,” said Senator Birmingham.

Project funding allocations:

• Expanded Irrigation Farm Modernisation Project $28 million
• Private Irrigation Infrastructure Operators Program (Round 3) $100 million
• On Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program (Round 5) $125 million
• Southern-connected Metering Project $31.5 million
• Infrastructure Projects TBC $66 million