The Victorian Government has released a community consultation report for the Connections irrigation modernisation project which shows strong support for a channel-by-channel assessment and a fit-for-purpose approach to irrigation upgrades.

The $2 billion Connections project aims to maximise water savings and secure the future of irrigated agriculture in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District in northern Victoria for generations to come.

Victorian Minister for Water Lisa Neville said the report marked a major step forward for the project and provided an important opportunity to hear from irrigators during community consultation sessions.

“The community consultation process marks a huge step forward for the Connections project to ensure the reset benefits irrigators, the environment and Northern Victoria as a region,” Ms Neville said.

The report shows landowners strongly support ‘Option Four’, a channel-by-channel assessment and a fit-for-purpose approach to irrigation upgrades, which was announced as part of the project reset in June 2016.

“Hundreds of landowners have had their say and it’s clear that a channel-by-channel assessment is what they want,” Ms Neville said.

This approach is considered the best way forward to complete the Connections project and create a sustainable future for irrigators, communities and the region in Northern Victoria.

More than 300 people attended the sessions as part of the two-week consultation program, allowing them to provide feedback and expertise on the four delivery options for the project reset.

The report was presented to the Connections Stakeholder Consultative Committee and will be finalised by The Project Control Group.

The Labor Government will work closely with the Commonwealth on resetting the Connections project and will consult the community on its progress.

The Connections Project Control Group is working through a process of carefully assessing each of the 1168 channels with local staff, area managers, operations and maintenance staff.

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