National Water Grid to unlock potential of regional Australia

Water security is at the top of the Liberal and Nationals Government's agenda as the 46th Parliament gets down to business.

The Federal Government is committed to protecting our farmers from future drought which is why it's establishing the National Water Grid - a new authority critical to ensuring our regions are best placed to grow and thrive in the coming decades.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said years of unrelenting drought had taken its toll on famers and regional communities.

"Water is the lifeblood of our nation and we owe it to our regional producers and communities to deliver long-term, sustainable water infrastructure to help farmers recover and build resilience from drought," Mr McCormack said.

"We announced the National Water Grid during the 2019 election campaign and this new authority will be in place by the end of the year.

"The National Water Grid will deliver strategic planning and project management for water infrastructure across the nation.

"It will bring together the world's best scientists, water experts and local stakeholder engagement to harvest and harness our most critical asset for future generations - ensuring that science, not politics - drives future decision making on water policy and infrastructure."

The first order of business for the National Water Grid will be to look at how large-scale water diversion projects could be established to deliver reliable and cost effective water to farmers and regional communities.

This means building dams and weirs to shore up crucial domestic water supplies - making sure that water goes to the communities and farms in most need.

"It's time to take petty politics out of water. Establishing an independent statutory authority will ensure the future of Australia's water supply will be based on data - not on self-interest," Mr McCormack said.

"Our government cannot make it rain, but it can ensure the lives of those in regional Australia are made a little easier.

"We will work with industry, local and state governments and communities to ensure our support is targeted, useful and provides the incentive for regions to continue to grow and thrive.

"The Nationals in Government are going bold and building big, because we know that big problemsrequire bigger solutions.

"No policy encapsulates that more than the National Water Grid, which I announced during theFederal Election campaign.

"Our record infrastructure investment will help stimulate our regional economies and develop ourcommunities. From the National Water Grid to the National Soil Advocate, the Future Drought Fund and Inland Rail, we are investing in regional Australia because we believe in regional Australia.

"Our regions are doing it tough - there is no doubt about that - but I truly believe that we will come out the other side stronger and more determined to tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities for the next century and beyond."

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