While any Federal Government funding for drought resilience is welcomed by the State Government, the Federal Government’s first $100 million allocation from its Future Drought Fund has bypassed critical Western Australia projects and will not deal with systemic drought in WA.
Today’s announcement from the Federal Government follows a consultative process, in which the Western Australian Government submitted four high priority projects for funding consideration.
WA’s submission included research and development projects to regenerate degraded and dehydrated lands, projects to prove and promote on-farm desalination, a boost to Strategic Community Water Supplies in the grainbelt and support for horticulture on the Gnangara Mound.
The Federal Government has chosen not to prioritise these critical projects in its first funding allocation, instead funding a range of planning exercises, training programs and networking opportunities.
Despite its disappointment with the outcome, the McGowan Government will work with the Federal Government to deliver programs in WA, and will continue to push for projects to deal with systemic dry conditions in WA.
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“While any funding from the Federal Government is welcome, this is a lost opportunity for WA farmers.
“The projects we proposed offered real, on-the-ground solutions to long-term, systemic dry conditions across WA’s pastoral and agricultural regions.
“These projects would make a difference for WA farmers, pastoralists and regional communities.
“Unfortunately, it is difficult to see this first $100 million allocation helping to solve the chronic drought issues facing our farmers.”
As stated by Water Minister Dave Kelly:
“Once again, the Federal Liberals and Nationals are ignoring the needs of Western Australia.
“This is a disappointing outcome for WA farmers and for regional communities, who know that climate change is drying out our State and who are looking for long-term solutions.
“We will continue to fight for a fair share of drought and water infrastructure funding for WA, to deliver the support and change our State needs as the impacts of climate change worsen.”