- McGowan Government has committed $56 million for two job-creating irrigation projects in the South-West
- Funding contingent on Federal Government and private co-investment
The McGowan Government has locked in $56 million for two irrigation projects to secure sustainable water supply for growers and support agricultural jobs in Western Australia's South-West.
Regional Development and Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Water Minister Dave Kelly are now calling on the Federal Government to confirm if it will co-fund these important projects.
$37 million will be invested in the Myalup-Wellington project, an industry-led initiative looking at solutions to lowering salinity levels at Wellington Dam. The estimated cost of the project is $380 million and the State Government's commitment is contingent on extra project funding from private sector investors and the Federal Government.
$19 million will be invested in the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme to further develop irrigation options around Manjimup and Pemberton. The project will cost about $80 million. Local growers have registered $10 million in support for the scheme, with the remaining funding sought from the Federal Government.
Water Minister Dave Kelly wrote to Federal Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce last month confirming the State's commitment to the projects ahead of a decision on both project's applications to the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
It is estimated that the two projects would create more the 1,500 long-term jobs.
Comments attributed to Regional Development and Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"Investment in irrigation technologies is critical in helping the South-West become more efficient with its water use to expand agriculture and horticulture in a drying climate.
"High-quality irrigation water will encourage investment in irrigated agriculture across the South-West region and open up new land for development.
"However, Federal Government co-investment is needed to get these projects off the ground - we look forward to Mr Joyce providing some clarity during his visit to WA next week."
Comments attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:
"Access to safe and usable water is vital to help grow our regional economy and, by expanding irrigated agriculture, we are creating new food bowls across the southern corner of our State.
"Wellington Dam is the largest surface water storage in the South-West, but has been increasingly unusable because of high salinity.
"The McGowan Government is working with private investors to reduce salinity and open up this important water resource for irrigated agriculture which will dramatically expand growth in the region.
"The Southern Forests area is a significant horticultural area and allowing greater access to water will increase opportunities in the region."
Regional Development and Agriculture and Food Minister's office - 6552 6200
Water Minister's office - 6552 6100