Water future is given funding boost


A $1billion investment in stage 2 of the food bowl modernisation project gives irrigated agriculture a shot of confidence.

Irrigation infrastructure in Victoria's northern foodbowl has been given a boost to the tune of $1 billion dollars, with the announcemnet of the second round of funding for the Northern Victoria Irrigation Renewal Program (NVIRP).
The news  gives battered Northern Victorian irrigators some confindence in their farming future.
Victorian Farmers Federation president said this is the first significant investment the federal government has announced since Dartmouth Dam in the 1970's. It has come  at a time when farmers' confidence in governments' ability to protect their rights to water entitlements was at a low ebb.
``Australian farmers have done all the heavy lifting to improve irrigation and it shows a good will commitment. We will look back in 20 years time and say this was the right thing to do,' he said.
``The same principle should be applied across the Murray-Darling Basin. Farmers have found ways to do more with each drop; there are also ways to achieve better environmental outcomes with less water,' he said.

Prime Minister Julia Gilliard said her government would contribute $952 million and the State a $100 million, to create 200Gl of water savings to be shared equally between farmers and the environment.
The funding generates regional expenditure of $4 million every week for the next five years.
NVIRP chairman Richard Guy said the funding is great news for irrigated agriculture.
``It provides certainty for those irrigators wishing to stay in farming that NVIRP now has the financial capacity to improve the system's current service levels as well as at the same time provide ample savings that can be directed for environmental enhancement,' Mr Guy said.
``Stage two also offers the surety that there will be more on-ground work flowing from this project as well as on-farm works which brings continued employment and economic stimulus to this region that has endured such severe drought.
Northern Victorian Irrigators (NVI) president Dudley Bryant said stage two approval means community will remain sustainable.
``It adds a lot of certainty to this area,' Mr Bryant said.
``There's a flow-on effect in the community to local shops, schools, everything,' he said.


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