The Australian Government has announced a more than half a billion dollar increase to the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund will bolster the delivery of transformational water projects for regional communities.
Acting Prime Minister and Nationals’ Leader Michael McCormack said the Fund’s increase of more than $500 million will be used to work with State and Territory Governments to identify and co-fund the construction of new water infrastructure projects across regional Australia.
“We aren’t afraid to back dams. We want to build more of them,” Mr McCormack said.
“If we want to create jobs and grow regional Australia then we need to add water.
“This announcement will turbocharge the construction of water infrastructure in regional Australia because our agricultural industries expect it and our communities deserve it.
“This is yet another investment the Liberal and Nationals’ Government is making in regional communities to ensure water security and help create jobs and opportunities in the regions.”
Describing water as “the life-blood of regional communities”, he added that the injection of funds would be a game changer for many communities and that the funding pipeline represented the single biggest commitment to investment for building water infrastructure across the nation.
Mr McCormack continued:
“Access to secure and affordable water is critical to the lives of many Australians in regional areas and investment in water infrastructure is vital to keep Australia thriving, especially during tough times of extended drought.
“Having the right water infrastructure in the right place will provide greater opportunities for new and expanded high value irrigated agriculture.
“This is not just about storing water in times when it is dry, it is also about protecting communities through flood mitigation in times when it is incredibly wet.”
The Fund’s expansion to more than $1 billion, as well as the existing $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility program, means more than $3 billion is now available from the Federal Government to support State and Territory Governments and their project partners, to build new water infrastructure and provide greater social and economic opportunity for Australians.
The expanded funding includes:
- $2 million for a feasibility study to assess options to build new water infrastructure to increase water supply and security in the North and South Burnett regions (Queensland)
- $1 million to co-fund the completion of the regulatory approval processes, including the final business case, design and Environmental Impact Statement, required for the Southern Forest Irrigation Scheme to progress to construction (WA)
- $250,000 to co-fund the establishment of management arrangements, finalisation of the design and completion of the regulatory and statutory approval processes needed for the Coldstream Recycled Water Pipeline to progress to construction (Victoria)