Andrews Labor duds Gippsland over irrigation funds
The Andrews Labor Government has shirked its responsibilities and broken a long-standing cost-sharing agreement with irrigators and the Federal Government with its funding announcement today for the Macalister Irrigation District.
Irrigation modernisation programs, including all previous stages of the MID 2030 program, have historically been shared three ways between the two levels of government and irrigators themselves. Gippsland Nationals MPs say Victorian Labor has now broken that deal with its announcement of just $10.4 million for the $62 million project.
“This is a great project but the Andrews Labor Government has once again let Gippsland down with its funding announcement,” The Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull said.
“This is the final phase of the MID 2030 program and will deliver 10,000 megalitres of water savings as it upgrades the ageing system in the Newry area.
“The Commonwealth, through Darren Chester, has put up half the cost of the project and the State Labor Government has taken advantage and cheated on what should have been it’s share of $20 million.”
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, said the Labor Government could have supported farmers in the MID who are just starting to recover from drought and the milk crisis.
“Here was a chance for Daniel Andrews and Water Minister Lisa Neville to support our farmers and reduce the contribution irrigators have to make to this project but they’ve taken the easy route again.
“They’ve short-changed farmers to help prop up their own bottom line. This is a good project that will boost productivity and help create jobs in Gippsland and Labor’s contribution is too little too late.”
Shadow Minister for Water, Steph Ryan, said Labor’s contribution stands in stark contrast to the money it is spending in Melbourne.
“This $10 million contribution is a fraction of the cost over-runs on one of Labor’s Melbourne projects. Even after borrowing $24.5 billion extra, it speaks volumes that the Andrews Labor Government can’t fully fund its share of this project.”
The Nationals MPs Tim Bull, Shadow Minister for Water, Steph Ryan, and Danny O’Brien say Labor has let irrigators down over MID funding.
19 May 2020