Reshaping Vic water connections project

Barnaby Joyce

Work to reshape the second stage of the most significant irrigation infrastructure upgrade in Victorian history, the Goulburn-Murray Water Connections Project Stage 2, continues to advance. Source: AFDJ eNews

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville, said since mid-December 2015 more than 200 irrigators and other key stakeholders had contributed ideas to improve the design and implementation of the project after an independent review raised concerns about its ability to deliver outcomes on time and on budget.

Minister Joyce said the local knowledge and expertise of Goulburn Murray irrigators was critically important to ensuring the water use efficiencies the project was set up to achieve could be delivered.

“The Australian Government is providing nearly $1 billion for this project and I am determined that our investment will deliver tangible outcomes for our irrigated agricultural sector, regional communities and environment,” Minister Joyce said.

“The Australian and Victorian governments are committed to getting the Connections Project back on track and will continue consulting with irrigators to ensure the best possible outcomes are achieved for communities in northern Victoria.

“My primary concern is that the project ensures farm and irrigation systems remain viable and productive, while generating environmental outcomes.”

Minister Neville appointed independent advisor, Mike Walsh, to support government and Goulburn-Murray Water efforts to ensure the reshaped Connections project was well designed and implemented.

“Mike Walsh has extensive experience in irrigation infrastructure upgrades and will provide crucial advice on the strategic reset of the Project,” Ms Neville said. “We understand the importance of including the views of irrigators in the Connections project—their input and support is crucial in the success of the project.

“I want to join Minister Joyce in thanking all those irrigators and other stakeholders who have involved themselves in this important process so far—and remind them that follow up consultations will be undertaken in late January 2016.”