Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has called on the Victorian Government to allocate the remainder of funding needed for phase 2 of the Macalister Irrigation District (MID) moderisation project in next month’s state budget.
In February, Mr Chester secured $31 million from the Federal Government – half the amount needed to complete phase 2 of the transformation of the MID’s ageing assets.
“This major modernisation project will deliver more efficient irrigation practices and secure a strong future for the local agricultural sector,” Mr Chester said.
“The Federal Government is investing $20 million in phase 1B of the moderisation project, with the total cost split between the Australian and Victorian governments and irrigators themselves.
“The perfect time for the State Government to announce it will match the Federal Government’s contribution to this important project and end any uncertainty is at the end of May when its delayed budget is delivered.”
Pipeline and channel work is now underway in the southern Tinamba supply area and will continue in Mewburn Park area this winter as part of the $60 million phase 1B of the MID modernisation project. Channel automation work in Riverslea is due to start next year.
Mr Chester said phase 2 works would boost jobs during construction and create ongoing employment as rural businesses expand.
“Securing $51 million from the Federal Government for these two phases of this project are among some of my most significant achievements. These works will have lasting benefits for our farmers and the environment,” Mr Chester said.
“This next stage of the project will complete the transformation of the Macalister Irrigation District’s ageing assets into a highly automated, efficient, modern water delivery system.
“Phase 2 will save and reinvest up to 10GL of water back into the rural economy, secure the Newry and Stratford supply networks, boost Gippsland’s output of milk and food, and reduce nutrient discharges to local waterways.”
The Macalister Irrigation District produces world-class dairy and other high-value produce and is a major source of jobs in Gippsland. The MID contributes an estimated $500 million to the Victorian economy.