Work on Tasmania’s new Duck Irrigation Scheme has commenced, which will see $30 million invested in delivering improved water security to irrigators in the Circular Head region.

The project will involve construction of a 6000ML dam at Mill Creek, two new pump stations and a pipeline to distribute water to farmers in the lrishtown, Mella, Forrest and Smithton districts.

The Coalition and Tasmanian Governments will work with local irrigators to fund the $30 million project, which will deliver 5200ML of high security irrigation water to Tasmania’s Circular Head region.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, Tasmanian Deputy Premier and Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Jeremy Rockliff, and Tasmanian Senator Jonathon Duniam said the Duck Irrigation Scheme is on track for delivery, with the Coalition and Tasmanian Governments signing off on the project over the 2016 Christmas break.

“Day after day, the Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to build the water security needed for economic growth, strong regional communities, and expansion of our agricultural industries right across the country,” Minister Joyce said.

“The Duck Irrigation Scheme will deliver 5200ML of high security irrigation water to the Circular Head Region, providing irrigators with reliable access to water to support dairy production, as well as production of crops like potatoes, onions and carrots.

“We are pleased to contribute $15.8 million to the Duck Irrigation Scheme and I commend the local irrigators who, with the Tasmanian Government, are co-investing over $14 million in the project.”

Minister Rockliff said the new scheme would help support economic growth and jobs in Tasmania’s north-west region.

“Expanding the statewide irrigation network is a key part of the Tasmanian Government’s Sustainable AgriFood Plan and our vision to grow the value of our agricultural industry 10-fold to $10 billion by 2050.

“We know that water security improves farmers’ bottom-lines and gives confidence to invest on-farm and chase new markets and this is essential as tariffs into Asia ease and new markets are established.”

Senator Jonathon Duniam said the Duck Irrigation Scheme is part of the Coalition’s $60 million commitment to Tasmanian Irrigation Tranche II projects –  which also included $25 million for the Swan Valley and Southern Highlands Irrigation Schemes.

“With the right infrastructure in the right place, Tasmania could be a real powerhouse for irrigated agricultural production. The irrigation schemes delivered so far have unlocked real potential in Tasmania’s primary production and we are already seeing the benefits of these investments,” Senator Duniam said.

“There is room for further growth and the Coalition Government has committed $1.78 million to fast-track a feasibility study into potential new areas for developing irrigation schemes in Tasmania.”

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