WATER FOR FOOD PROGRAM —
SOUTHERN FORESTS IRRIGATION SCHEME
265. Hon COLIN TINCKNELL to the Minister for Agriculture and
I refer to the southern forests
irrigation scheme and the Water for Food program. My question is C154. I gave
the minister the question a few weeks ago.
(1) Can the
minister confirm that page 43 of the 2016 ''Infrastructure audit''
published by the former Department of Regional Development proposed the building
of dams of up to two-gigalitre capacity to store an additional 12 gigalitres of
water for food in the Warren and Donnelly River catchments?
(2) Can the
minister confirm that the project ''Build 2-gigalitre dams in Southern
Forests'', estimated to require the state and commonwealth governments'
contribution to infrastructure, is likely to be in the order of $25 million and
that currently the project has evolved to require $19 million in state
contributions and $40 million in commonwealth contributions?
(3) Can the
minister confirm the ''Build 2-gigalitre dams in Southern Forests''
referred to an additional 12 gigalitres of water for food, which has a very
different meaning from reallocating water intended for self-supply water users
producing food in the eight sub-catchments of the Donnelly River and closed to
further water licences on 16 November 2017 to favour the southern forests
ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:
I thank the member for the question.
I note that the question was asked some weeks ago; if he could just bear that
(1) Yes. I understand the original project proposed
connecting a number of privately owned dams to neighbouring properties.
However, during market sounding and discussion with dam and landowners it was
clear that potential water suppliers were not willing to enter into long-term
contracts with their neighbours to make water available on a commercial basis.
I am advised that under the former government, a ministerial steering committee
comprising the Ministers for Water, Regional Development, and
Agriculture and Food agreed to re-scope the project to the current southern
forests irrigation scheme.
(2) I am advised
that the $25 million was a pre-feasibility cost estimate that did not include
the cost of the dams and associated infrastructure.
(3) No. Both
projects relied on the same water resource with the aim of maximising economic
growth in the region and providing greater water security for the agricultural
sector while still ensuring appropriate environmental water provisions.