Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce​, has announced the next round of funding where irrigators can apply for a share of $111million to upgrade water infrastructure.

The funding is part of the Sustaining the Basin Irrigated Farm Modernisation program.

Mr Joyce and NSW Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said government and industry had injected more than $75million into modernising irrigation infrastructure to date through the program.

“This is clever investment, which boosts productivity, improves water use efficiency, eliminates waste and improves returns at the farmgate,” Mr Joyce said.

“More than 100 NSW irrigators have already used the program to become more water efficient and profitable — and with the program now in its final stages, I urge every eligible irrigator in northern NSW to apply for funding.

“It is proving to be a practical and successful method of delivering real benefits to irrigators as well as the communities who depend on the Murray–Darling Basin. As well as maintaining or improving irrigators’ productivity, it is supporting the health of the Murray-Darling and improving the long term sustainability of regional communities.

“Investing in better infrastructure is actually an investment in the productivity and environmental sustainability of the Murray–Darling Basin.”

Mr Blair said 100 projects had been funded under the program and more than 60 had already been completed.

“Irrigators with eligible entitlements from the Barwon Darling, Border Rivers and Lower Namoi catchments can apply for this round infrastructure modernisation funding,” Mr Blair said.

“The value of individual projects funded to date ranges from $51,000 to $5.5million and we have now made it even easier for irrigators to apply for funding, as well as to plan and finance their projects.

“In addition, all irrigators from catchments in the program area who have eligible water entitlements can now also apply for financial assistance for the preparation of an Irrigated Farm Water Use Efficiency Assessment (IFWUEA).”

The NSW Sustaining the Basin Irrigated Farm Modernisation program is funded by the Australian Government through the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program.

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