Irrigation water – a jobs opportunity for Gippsland

Allocation of additional water to grow food and fibre on the Latrobe River will help create jobs and assist with the regional transition according to The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien.

In State Parliament last week Mr O’Brien highlighted the opportunities to expand food production and create jobs in the region with water available for allocation on the Latrobe River.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, says additional water to growing food and fibre on the Latrobe River will help create jobs.

Mr O’Brien called on the State Government to outline a process by which water will be made available to local farmers.

“I have been campaigning with local farmers for some time for 25,000 megalitres of unused water in the Latrobe system to be allocated to irrigated agriculture.

“That campaigning was partially rewarded last year when the Government’s Central and Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy indicated that 16,000 megalitres of that water would be reallocated between the environment, traditional owners and irrigation.

“I have now asked the Government to outline exactly how that will be done and urged it to ensure the greatest possible value is created from the allocation of that water.”

Mr O’Brien said the 16,000 megalitres could make an enormous difference to productive agriculture in the Central Gippsland region which is facing challenges with the phasing out of coal fired power stations, the forced closure of the timber industry and the wind down of oil and gas production.

“Not for a second will agriculture replace those jobs, but it does provide a sustainable long-term opportunity to produce food for our region, state, nation and the world and create good jobs and economic activity at the same time.

“I’m pleased the Government finally saw the sense of reallocating water that was sitting in Blue Rock Dam unused and I’m now urging it to get on with the job and ensure that we can create a strong future for our region by supporting local farmers.”


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