- Commonwealth excludes WA farmers from $1.54 billion federal funding for water infrastructure projects
- State Water Minister calls on Commonwealth to change criteria for water infrastructure funding and make available to WA farmers
- WA has received less than two per cent of available Commonwealth water management and infrastructure funding in the past 10 years
The McGowan Government is calling on the Commonwealth Government to support Western Australian farmers as they deal with the impacts of climate change, with Water Minister Dave Kelly writing to his Federal counterpart Minister Keith Pitt to request changes to the eligibility criteria for the Off-farm Efficiency Program to enable funding for WA projects.
The recently announced $1.54 billion Off-farm Efficiency Program provides funding for off-farm water efficiency infrastructure projects in Murray Darling Basin States only, with WA ineligible to apply.
WA has received under two per cent of available Commonwealth water management and infrastructure funding over the past 10 years, with almost all going to the Murray Darling Basin States.
The McGowan Government last week announced that it had been successful in securing $20 million for WA farmers through the Commonwealth's National Water Grid Fund Connections funding pathway.
The McGowan Government has advocated for WA farmers for close to 12 months to secure this important funding, all while continuing to invest in the State's agricultural, community and strategic water supplies.
Since being elected the McGowan Government has invested more than $1.08 billion in regional WA to fund critical water infrastructure and ensure the supply of urgently needed potable and non-potable water to the State's regional communities, with negligible assistance from the Commonwealth Government.
The Commonwealth Government's continued focus on the Murray-Darling Basin States, as demonstrated by the recent announcement of the Off-farm Efficiency Program, means WA farmers have again been excluded from important Federal water infrastructure funding.
Comments attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:
"The southern half of the State is being hit particularly hard by the impacts of climate change and reduced rainfall, presenting long-term water security challenges for farmers in the regions.
"That's why the McGowan Government has continued to invest in infrastructure projects that help WA farmers deal with the impacts of climate change, and is helping ensure they have access to reliable drinking water and agricultural and emergency livestock drinking water sources, especially during dry periods when on-farm supplies are depleted.
"Sadly the Commonwealth has continued to demonstrate its Eastern States focus, and ignored the plight of our agricultural communities with this recent announcement.
"The Commonwealth Government seems happy to fund dams on the east coast while not supporting WA farmers secure urgently needed water supplies in the face of climate change.
"I call on Minister Pitt and the Commonwealth to show their support for WA farmers by changing the criteria for the Off-farm Efficiency Program, and enable them to access this important funding."
Minister's office - 6552 6100