New project to modernise water infrastructure in Victoria to create jobs

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A man reads job adverts in a newspaper at a cafe in Sydney, Australia, May 9, 2016. Reuters/David Gray

The Australian and Victorian governments have agreed to schedule for delivery of a project to modernise water infrastructure in Victoria's Macalister Irrigation District. At least 208 jobs during construction can be expected with another 100 for the long term.

Barnaby Joyce, the minister for agriculture and water resources, and Darren Chester, minister for transport and member for Gippsland, said the funding delivered on a key election commitment under the government's $500 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund."This project will overhaul outdated water infrastructure in the Macalister Irrigation District, delivering water savings that will be used to increase supply security and expand irrigated agriculture, generating a $10.3 million increase in farmgate product each year," Joyce said in a media release.

He added that the project will generate 208 jobs during the construction phase and 100 long term jobs in the region as a result of increased farm production."Last year, I put almost $250 million on the table for five priority water infrastructure projects across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia as part of the Coalition's commitment to unlocking the potential of rural and regional Australia through agricultural productivity and economic growth,” the press release further reads.

Chester said the new project would guarantee that the water supply system was operating at its optimum. He described it as a “real win” for producers in the state's largest irrigation district, as it aims to support more productive and profitable farm businesses. Producers here, according to Chester, are already known for their world-class produce, which include dairy and horticulture products.

Chester said the infrastructure upgrade will result to open channels being replaced with 39km of pipeline. It would also reduce water losses due to evaporation and seepage.

The project will save 9,700 megalitres of water annually by minimising water wastage. It means water that would otherwise be lost can be utilised to boost farm productivity.

Meanwhile, the South West Loddon Pipeline is expected to create more than 130 local jobs. Joyce said that aside from creating occupations, it will also deliver a permanent connection to a secure water supply for over 600 local landholders.

According to the minister, the drought breaking pipeline will provide farmers with the water security to increase their agricultural productivity and create a total economic benefit of $114 million. The South West Loddon Pipeline is one of six priority water infrastructure projects across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

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