Package to improve water reform outcomes in NSW

Wednesday, 22 October, 2014

The Australian and NSW governments have announced a $350 million package of new irrigation efficiency projects across NSW. Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Simon Birmingham said the Australian Government is “contributing an extra $125 million of funding to the revised package, bringing total Australian Government funding for NSW to nearly $1.5 billion”.

Senator Birmingham said the Australian Government’s new funding is helping to support “a viable irrigation industry and sustainable food production for strong regional communities across the Murray-Darling Basin”, as well as to deliver the Basin Plan in full and on time.

“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,” Senator Birmingham said.

“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.”

Senator Birmingham said the irrigation programs will improve on-farm water efficiency and productivity; provide a share of the water savings to the Commonwealth for ongoing environmental use; and benefit local businesses and services during construction and beyond.

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

 “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,” Humphries said.

“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.”

The funding allocations are as follows:

  • 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 - $66 million
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