Joint Media Release: Northern Tasmania to benefit from major irrigation project

The Australian and Tasmanian Governments have today announced that work will begin on the $30 million North Esk Irrigation Scheme.

Assistant Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston said the Australian Government will commit almost $19 million, the Tasmanian Government $4.5 million and irrigators $7 million to build the North Esk Irrigation Scheme under the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure program.

“Development of the North Esk Irrigation Scheme is a real game-changer for the communities of northern Tasmania that benefit directly from agriculture,” Minister Ruston said.

“Areas of the Northern Midlands and around Launceston support a variety of agricultural enterprises and the main impediment to expansion of irrigation in the region is the limited supply of water and associated lack of reliable water.

“The North Esk Irrigation Scheme will help overcome that by providing 4685 megalitres of high security irrigation water to the Northern Midlands and increase the irrigation footprint in the region by a substantial area.”

Tasmanian Deputy Premier and Minister for Primary Industries and Water Jeremy Rockliff said as many as 30 full-time equivalent jobs are expected to be created.

“The state-wide irrigation program is a key part of the Hodgman Government’s Sustainable Agri-Food Plan to grow the value of agriculture to $10 billion by 2050,” Minister Rockliff said.

“This North Esk Irrigation Scheme will deliver a reliable water source and allow for the expansion of horticulture, viticulture, mixed cropping and intensive livestock grazing.

“Importantly, farmers are genuine partners investing with government in the capital works as well as the additional on-farm infrastructure like dams, pipes and centre-pivots or drippers.”

Senator for Tasmania Jonathon Duniam said work on the North Esk Irrigation Scheme follows the $30 million Duck Irrigation Scheme at Circular Head that got underway in February with nearly $16 million in Federal funding.

“Both schemes are part of the Coalition’s $60 million commitment to Tasmanian Irrigation Tranche II projects, which also includes $25 million towards the Swan Valley and Southern Highlands irrigation schemes,” Senator Duniam said.

“This scheme adds to Tasmania’s high-value agriculture and food opportunity.

“The North Esk locality makes it ideal for air freighting high value goods and is in an excellent position to service the agri-food tourism and `paddock-to-plate’ trend.” 

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