July 2, 2020
High security agricultural water for Blackbutt is one of five irrigation projects which has been identified as a top priority by the Queensland Farmers Federation (QFF).
The QFF partnered with consulting firm Jacobs – the same company hired to complete the recent $2 million Burnett Water Study – to identify the top five irrigation water infrastructure projects the State Government should prioritise to deliver sustainable economic growth and jobs to rural and regional communities.
The list includes the Lockyer Valley Water Distribution System, Coalstoun Lakes Water, Blackbutt High Security Agricultural Water, the Gilbert River Irrigation Project, and the Bowen Pipeline as economically promising projects that could move to construction within the next three years.
QFF CEO Dr Georgina Davis said QFF was calling on the State Government to invest $25 million collectively in these emerging water infrastructure projects to support the agriculture sector and assist in the economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These five projects were identified after analysing 45 existing water studies,” Dr Davis said.
“They represent a potential positive economic net present value and need modest new feasibility and pre-construction funding from government.
“The work also acknowledges the currently funded business cases such as the Lakelands and Hughenden Irrigation projects. It also recognises the innovative Granite Belt Irrigation Project at Stanthorpe, which is progressing towards construction thanks to a heavy investment from farmers, and the Australian and Queensland governments.
“Water is a key connector and enabler for agriculture. We must not only ensure our existing water infrastructure is well maintained and fit for modern agricultural purposes but reconsider the government policy that new water infrastructure is built at full cost recovery, thereby pricing farmers out of the market.
“Additionally, it is essential that we have a pipeline of smart, economically viable water infrastructure projects that are ready to go when conditions are right in order to drive growth for the state and build resilience for farmers.”
“We encourage the State Government to consider advancing these five projects for the future of the State and to ensure farmers can continue producing world class food, fibre and foliage.”
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