Government outlines new irrigation program
The Federal Government has announced a new irrigation support program it says will provide better ways for irrigators to mange their networks.
Federal Water Minister, Tony Burke, said the Strategic Sub-System Reconfiguration Program, which forms part of the Federal Government’s response to the Windsor Inquiry, will better manage the impacts of government water purchases on shared irrigation networks.
“There has been a common refrain from irrigators and irrigation communities at almost every meeting since I started in this portfolio. They have consistently put the view that if buy back does occur they should be strategic and not random,” Mr Burke said.
“But the challenge has remained that there will be many different views on what actually constitutes a strategic purchase.
“This program is about letting local infrastructure operators lead strategic decisions.
“If some areas are to be reconfigured these decisions are made a the local level but the water recovered can contribute basin wide to the health of the Murray-Darling.”
The new program replaces the Irrigator Led Group Proposals program which has now closed for new applications.
“Water entitlements recovered by the government through this strategic program will help ‘bridge the gap’ to the sustainable diversion limit in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan,” Mr Burke said.
Funding of $200 million over four years was announced for this program in the 2012-13 Budget.
The first call for applications of the program will be on 18 February 2013 with a closing date of 2 April 2013.