The Tasmanian Government is set to support rural and regional areas by delivering irrigation infrastructure and expanding farm production, as set out in its 2019-20 Budget.
The State and Federal Governments are jointly investing $170 million into Pipeline to Prosperity—a $496 million long-term program—which will allow Tasmanian Irrigation to deliver the first phase of at least five new irrigation schemes across the state, whilst Tasmanian Irrigation continues with the planning for other proposed schemes.
The first five projects located in Don, Fingal, Northern Midlands, Sassafras Wesley Vale and Tamar are progressing through the planning and approvals process and would provide producers in each district with confidence to invest further in enhancing their existing capacity, currently limited by water reliability.
The 2019-20 Budget is also focused on bringing down the cost of doing business for farmers with a $5.5 million Tasmanian Irrigation Renewable Energy Project.
Tasmanian Irrigation is also developing the business case for adding hydro-electric systems into the current irrigation network to generate power—on top of the existing mini-hydro stations located at the Meander, Winnaleah and Midlands schemes.
If the business case is approved, Tasmanian Irrigation expects to start building the next hydro-electric systems in early 2020.
Irrigation water enables farmers to diversify, value add and expand their existing farming operations, assisting the State Government to reach its target of increasing the farm gate value of Tasmania’s agricultural sector to $10 billion a year by 2050.