Gippsland South The Nationals Water Gippsland Jobs Farmers Irrigation Danny O'Brien Latrobe Valley Latrobe River economy Central Gippsland

Irrigation opportunity must be grasped

Central Gippsland has a great opportunity to grasp new economic opportunities and job creation through the expansion of irrigation in the region.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said state government funding for a new feasibility study for expanding irrigation in the region was the culmination of a lot of lobbying and hard work.

“I’m very pleased that the state government has listened to my calls to seize the opportunity to expand irrigation in Central Gippsland.

“There is a significant volume of allocated but unused water in the Latrobe system that could be, and should be, put to better use supporting irrigated agriculture in the region.

“I have been lobbying for some time now for the government to allocate that water to agriculture and the announcement of a new $500,000 feasibility study is a step in the right direction.

“I congratulate the irrigators along the Latrobe River who have worked with me to push the government into making this step.”

Mr O’Brien said there is currently around 80,000 megalitres of unused water in the Latrobe system stored in Blue Rock Dam, most of which could be put toward expanding irrigation.

“I have long said that we should be looking to double the size and output of the Macalister Irrigation District (MID) which should be examined by this study as well as increasing irrigation along the Latrobe River.

“The opportunities for irrigation in part come about as Latrobe Valley coal mine water use winds down. As we transition away from coal the sustainable, permanent jobs provided by irrigation could help the region as it transitions.

“I look forward to working with the government and local irrigators on the options which should include consideration of expansion of irrigation along the Latrobe River, transfer of Latrobe River water into the Thomson system and then the MID, and the potential for increased use of glass houses and high-value agricultural and horticultural production.”

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, says more jobs could be created through expansion of irrigation in Central Gippsland.

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