Uncertainty As Federal Budget Fails To Fund Critical Irrigation Scheme

15 May 2024

Tasmanian Irrigation has expressed disappointment that there is no funding commitment in this week’s Federal Budget for the Greater South East Irrigation Scheme (GSEIS).

Chief Executive Officer Andrew Kneebone said farmers had been hopeful of Federal Government support in the wake of a funding commitment from the State Government during the recent Tasmanian election.

“There’s a critical need in the south east to integrate the three existing irrigation schemes, meet the demand for new water and address the reliability and cost issues for farmers,” Mr Kneebone said.

“The scheme we are proposing also has great potential to add value to the State economy. The value of this development is undeniable.

“The Greater South East Irrigation Scheme has the capacity to deliver 37,200 megalitres of high surety water that would be the catalyst for conversion to higher value activity in what’s traditionally been one of the driest areas of the State. The Scheme would also meet new demand in the region, trigger approximately $120 million of on-farm investment and create a $98.7 million boost in the State’s farmgate value.”

Mr Kneebone said many farmers in the region now face an imminent rise in the cost of their water, and ongoing uncertainty of supply.

“Irrigators on the existing Stages Two and Three are supplied with fully treated potable water from TasWater. This reliance on treated water from TasWater has been a long-held concern for landowners due to the rising cost of the water, competing pressures for supply and uncertainty of supply during dry seasons,” he said.

“This is not a situation that anyone wants to see continue indefinitely.”

Mr Kneebone said Tasmanian Irrigation would now work with the Tasmanian and Australian

Governments, TasWater and the south east irrigator community to consider workable options and solutions.