​Joint Media Release

$14.25 million for Victorian irrigators to modernise infrastructure

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce
Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville

5 November 2015

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville, today announced a further $14.25 million would be made available for irrigation infrastructure upgrades under Round Two of the Victorian Farm Modernisation Project (VFMP). 

Minister Joyce said the new round of funding would be used to upgrade irrigation infrastructure on approximately 60 farms in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District—increasing efficiency and flexibility in water use on-farm and delivering environmental benefits. 

"These types of programmes are a key element in our delivery of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, and effectively support the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental outcomes," Minister Joyce said. 

"Participants in these programmes often find that benefits go beyond water use savings, for example by giving irrigators greater flexibility of crop choice, increased yield from crops and the ability to produce a larger crop from lower water allocations. 

"For example—one irrigator, producing grain, sheep and hay crops who was funded under Round 1 has upgraded 190 hectares by installing semi‑automated irrigation and a water reuse system, and can now irrigate in one third the time and around 25% less water.  Input costs, run-off and nutrient loss are lower and crop yields have increased.  The irrigation upgrades have allowed this farm to move away from growing mainly annuals to producing lucerne for the premium market. 

"It's a great example of positive environmental outcomes going hand-in-hand with genuine productivity and profitability benefits for farm businesses." 

Minister Neville said the programme would save water for farmers and the environment across 54,000 hectares in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District, and was expected to make an important contribution in delivering on Victoria's commitment to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. 

"Victoria's irrigators are innovative and forward-thinking, and I've been pleased to see this reflected in the project proposals we've received under the programme," Minister Neville said. 

"Under this programme, eligible works may include laser grading, drainage water reuse systems, automation of irrigation systems, conversions to pressurised irrigation, and replacement of farm channels with pipes and risers. 

"The Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District is vital to the prosperity of the region and the State and we support these projects that lift productivity and achieve efficiencies in the sector." 

The $100 million VFMP is funded by the Australian Government and delivered by the Victorian Government through the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority.

For more information, visit delwp.vic.gov.au/water.