The Nationals Gippsland South MID macalister irrigation district Water Irrigation Funding Agriculture

Minister makes Macalister irrigators wait

The Andrews Labor Government has put up a bizarre defence of its failure to fund Phase 2 of the Macalister Irrigation District (MID) upgrade.

The upgrade will complete the modernisation of the MID, delivering 10GL of water savings back to productive agriculture to help create jobs and economic activity in Central Gippsland.

The Nationals Gippsland MP’s Tim Bull and Danny O’Brien have been campaigning for the State Government funding after Darren Chester and the Commonwealth provided $31 million four months ago.

Mr O’Brien said the Minister for Water, Lisa Neville, gave a completely implausible explanation of Labor’s failure to fund the project when appearing before the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee last week.

“The Minister said Victoria had put an expression of interest to the Commonwealth to get the $31 million of funding but is now saying the details and full costings of the State Government’s contribution are still to be worked out - that just beggars belief.

“How is it the Government can ask the Commonwealth for millions of dollars of funding if the project business case wasn’t completed?

“This is just another excuse by the Labor Party on why it is failing Gippslanders.

“It comes off the back of the failure to match the Commonwealth’s funding for the Princes Highway duplication and other important projects throughout our region.”

Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull said this was a good project that would help boost the agricultural sector in the MID.

“This project will create jobs, improve farm productivity and deliver environmental benefits.

“Labor has been caught out with its excuses - you can’t send a business case to the Commonwealth seeking $31 million and then say the business case isn’t complete for the same project.

“Labor should stump up its share of the funding now so that this project can be completed as quickly as possible.”

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The Nationals Gippsland MP’s Tim Bull and Danny O’Brien are campaigning for State Government funding for the final stage of modernisation of the Macalister Irrigation District.

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