Irrigation modernisation funding announced

The modernisation of water infrastructure in the Sunraysia region in Victoria has received an extra boost after the Australian Government announced an additional $3.025 million in funding to significantly expand irrigation capacity.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael McCormack, said the announcement built on the Government’s 2016 investment of $103 million toward the first phase of the Sunraysia Modernisation Project.

“This investment will continue our efforts to improve the Sunraysia region’s water infrastructure and expand irrigated agriculture,” Mr McCormack said.

“We expect this to create up to 30 indirect jobs in the Sunraysia region and generate around $16 million of activity for the Victorian economy—including $10 million in the local region alone.”

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Keith Pitt, said that, over approximately the next two years, the scheme will be expanded to deliver up to 25,000 megalitres of extra water for irrigation agriculture each year, to be purchased from elsewhere in the Murray-Darling Basin.

“The Sunraysia Modernisation Project 2 will boost water supply to 8,652 hectares of land,” Mr Pitt said.

“This will support increased production of a range of irrigated crops including lucerne hay, oaten hay, almonds and wine and table grapes.”

Federal Minister for Mallee, Andrew Broad, said this additional investment would further enhance the region as one of nation’s most important agriculture producers within the Murray-Darling Basin.

“The project will involve construction of an 80 megalitre dam at Merbein West, new channel offtake and gravity pipe connection between Merbein channel and storage and upgrade pipeline termination structures at Merbein West and Red Cliffs,” Mr Broad said.

“It will also include channel modernisation works such as replacement of regulator structures, 2kmof bank raising works, 5.1km of channel re-profiling and channel lining.”

The project will be delivered by the Victorian Government in partnership with Lower Murray Water. The Australian Government commitment will be delivered under the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

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