Tasmanian irrigation investment to create jobs

Guy Barnett,Minister for Primary Industries and Water

The Tasmanian Government’s investment in irrigation infrastructure is transforming Tasmanian agriculture and creating jobs in our regional areas, while expanding farm production to meet the growing demand for Tasmania’s premium produce.

Tomorrow, it will be my pleasure to join farmers and the community to launch the $49.37 million Fingal Irrigation Scheme Preferred Design Option, which is set to deliver 12,600 megalitres of high-surety irrigation water to farmers along the South Esk River between Fingal and Powranna.

This irrigation water will be used for livestock finishing, dairy conversion, potatoes, poppies and cereal crops across a 28,571-hectare area. Importantly, it will create up to 60 full-time-equivalent jobs during construction and a further 78 FTEs once operational.

Our irrigation infrastructure is leading the nation, having delivered 16 new irrigation schemes and the Greater Meander Valley Irrigation Scheme.

High surety irrigation water enables farmers to diversify, expand and value add, as well as provide much-needed guarantees for crop contracts and on-farm investment leverage.

Our recent injection of a further $15 million as part of our Rebuilding Tasmania Plan brings the current joint Government commitment to $185 million, plus the investment from farmers.

This follows last week’s launch of the $65.8 million Northern Midlands Scheme Preferred Design Option, which is expected to deliver another 60 jobs during construction, and a further 139 once operational.

I congratulate the local farmers who are clearly backing the schemes for their area and investing in their farming enterprises.

We know our AgriFood plan is working with Tasmania’s agricultural production increasing in value in 2018-19 to $1.64 billion.

When completed, our Pipeline to Prosperity state-wide irrigation plan is expected to provide almost 78,000 megalitres of water, create up to 2,600 full-time jobs, trigger an additional $150 million in on-farm private investment and inject an estimated $114 million each year into the sector, and economy more broadly.

During the greatest health and economic crisis in a generation, our investment in critical infrastructure like the Pipeline to Prosperity is good news for Tasmanian jobs and regional communities.

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