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The first irrigation water of Tasmania’s $57.3 million Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme has been delivered to the North East region.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, and Federal Member for Bass, Bridget Arche, said they saw first-hand the impact this major investment is already having.

More than 84 irrigators across 106 properties will benefit from this important water infrastructure project, with many planning to boost production by up to 50 per cent, employ additional farm workers, and invest in new pivot irrigators and smart technology.

The scheme will deliver up to 8,600 megalitres of high-surety irrigation water to underpin increased productivity, efficiency, sustainability and growth.

Mr McCormack said the Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme in North East Tasmania would have tremendous economic benefits for the region.

“The Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme is enabling an increase to irrigated agriculture by around 13,000 hectares allowing higher value agriculture, including dairy,” Mr McCormack said.

“By growing our agricultural production, we are supporting regional Australian livelihoods, creating jobs and contributing to regional economic recovery.”

The Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme includes the Camden Rivulet Dam, a 1MW pump station on the St Patricks River, 92km of pipeline and eight kilometres of powerline.

The Camden Rivulet Dam was a significant component of the Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme. With a 9,800 megalitre capacity, 40 per cent of the dam will be filled via natural inflows from the Camden Rivulet, and 60 per cent pumped from the now complete one megawatt St Patricks River Pump Station.

Mrs Archer said the irrigation season started on 16 November 2020 in Tasmania and it was great to see the scheme delivery.

“Scheme participants have been able to activate farm outlets to test on-farm infrastructure ready for the irrigation season,” Mrs Archer said.

“By investing in infrastructure, including critical water supply projects, the Australian Government is laying the foundations for economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Tasmanian Irrigation Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Kneebone, said the Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme was another outstanding example of what could be achieved through the unique public-private funding model.

“The Australian Government contributed $25.3 million, the Tasmanian Government $20 million and irrigators $12 million, enabling many local design, engineering, earthmoving, construction and civil firms to be contracted to commence site works in October 2018,” Mr Kneebone said.

“Farmers from areas surrounding Scottsdale, Bridport, Springfield, Nabowla and Waterhouse are absolutely thrilled that they can invest and expand with confidence, with one farmer recently telling me he will increase their irrigated dairy grazing area by 50 per cent to milk an additional 300 cows and another increasing the area planted to vegetables by around 30 per cent.

“There is no doubt that irrigation infrastructure is a game changer in Tasmania, and we are extremely thankful to the Australian and Tasmanian Governments, as well as landowners, who commit to funding each project.”

The Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme is the final of five Tranche 2 irrigation projects to be completed, following the successful launch of ten Tranche 1 projects. A further ten irrigation projects are now being planned as part of Tranche 3.

By 2025, Tasmanian Irrigation will manage a portfolio of irrigation infrastructure valued at more than $680 million, capable of delivering 168,998 megalitres of water via 1,451km of pipeline, 55 pump stations, 24 dams and three power stations.

More than 60 jobs were supported during construction and a further 45 ongoing jobs will be supported once the full scheme is in operation – 30 on farm and another 15 in support services.

The Australian Government is investing $3.5 billion towards a ten-year rolling program of water infrastructure projects in partnership with states and territories to supply billions of litres of water for productive use each year and enhance the National Water Grid.

This investment will grow Australian agriculture, increase water security, build resilience to drought and support regional prosperity.

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