Northern Australia gets water security boost as funding rains down

Media Release

WT208/2015

08 July 2015

Joint release with:

George Christensen

Federal Member for Dawson

Central Queensland residents and businesses could benefit from improved water security as $200 million is set aside for investment in water storages as part of the Northern Australia White Paper.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the $500 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund (the Fund) was a key commitment in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper which was set to accelerate investment in crucial water projects.

“Undoubtedly water plays a huge role in the lives of central and northern Queenslanders, whether it's farmers and mining operators coping with drought or the wet season, through to small towns that may not always have reliable access to water,” Mr Truss said.

“The Australian Government has committed up to $200 million from the Fund towards Northern Australia projects, with $30 million of this earmarked to examine the feasibility of new investments. This initial commitment includes $15 million towards understanding the potential to develop water resources in the Mitchell River catchment on Cape York, as well as in the West Kimberley and Darwin regions.

“The Government has also committed up to $5 million each for feasibility studies of the Nullinga Dam in the Cairns region and the further expansion of the Ord irrigation scheme into the Northern Territory.

“This preliminary work will ensure future projects deliver cost-effective and wide-ranging benefits to local residents and business operators alike, ultimately improving water security and access, and delivering economic prosperity to the entire nation.”

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said he was pleased to see the Australian Government investing in the north.

“The Northern Australia White Paper has identified an issue that many central Queenslanders will be aware of—that is the lack of scientific data and knowledge about water supplies. This has stifled investment in some respects, including in agriculture. The one thing investors need is reliable information about the potential of water catchments before committing their funds,” Mr Christensen said.

“Urannah Dam near Mackay is one project that has significant potential for investment, servicing around 12,000 hectares of agricultural land and creating jobs during construction and more industry for the North Queensland economy.”

The White Paper on Developing Northern Australia is available at northernaustralia.infrastructure.gov.au