Time for Labor to step up on MID funding
Gippsland Nationals MP’s have called on the Andrews Labor Government to stump up its share of the final stage of the Macalister Irrigation District (MID) modernisation project.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull and Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said the project is a critical one for the local economy and with federal funding on the table the state should have funded the project in last week’s state budget.
Speaking in Parliament this week, Mr O’Brien said the MID2030 Phase 2 project, worth $62 million, would modernise the remaining sections of the MID, saving about 10GL of water, improving on farm productivity and reducing nutrient run-off into the Gippsland lakes.
“This is a no-brainer of a project and has been supported by both side of politics for some time.
“When in government The Nationals delivered on Phase 1A and it was pleasing that the Labor Government contributed to Phase 1B which is now almost completed.
“It was great that Darren Chester and the Federal Nationals have put $31 million on the table which is half the cost, well in excess of their previous contribution to this project, but we saw nothing from Labor in the state budget.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull said the MID was a critical economic asset for Gippsland and production was growing through both the expansion of horticulture, particularly in areas around Newry and Boisdale, and dairy.
“The MID is one of Australia’s safest irrigation areas and can be relied on to deliver year after year, but modernising our channels and supply systems will save water and produce enormous efficiencies for our farmers.
“It’s also an important environmental project, reducing wastage and nutrient run-off into our local rivers and lakes.
“I’m disappointed Labor didn’t fund its share in the budget and call on the Andrews Government to now get behind this project.”
The Nationals made a commitment of funding to phase 2 of MID 2030 at last year’s election.
Gippsland Nationals MP’s Tim Bull and Danny O’Brien with Shadow Minister for Water, Steph Ryan are calling on State Labor to provide funding for the final stage of modernisation of the Macalister Irrigation District.