Media Release

National Roundtable on dams and water infrastructure announced

14 October 2014

The Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, today announced that a National Water Infrastructure Roundtable will be held on Wednesday, 29 October in Canberra.

"The Australian Government's Water Infrastructure Ministerial Working Group identified around 30 projects which should be a priority to progress from 63 projects submitted by the states and territories.

"We have some great opportunities to build capacity in water infrastructure and we have invited investors and the banks to meet with stakeholders and find out what is required to get these projects moving," Minister Joyce said.

"Water is wealth and stored water is a bank. It’s vitally important therefore that our water infrastructure, in terms of storage and irrigation capacity, keeps pace with the needs of the nation, including farmers, industry, mining and regional communities and the cities.

"Irrigation contributed to 28 per cent of Australia's agricultural production in 2012–13. The right infrastructure in the right place will help us meet future challenges by managing this vital resource and growing our economy in the long term, opening up new areas of production and bringing a better return back through the farm gate."

Minister Joyce said he was hopeful that the roundtable would bring together everyone involved in water infrastructure from across Australia, including investors, representatives of irrigators, mining and power industries, financiers, state and territory governments, local governments and construction companies.

The Australian Government’s Water Infrastructure Ministerial Working Group has identified a shortlist of projects which could potentially begin immediately, or which could be fast-tracked for development.

"The shortlist of projects includes a number of sites across Australia in Tasmania, Queensland, New South Wales, Northern Territory and Western Australia. This list of projects will be included in the Green Paper for the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper," Minister Joyce said.

"Just in the past week I was in Tamworth to kick off work for the Chaffey Dam augmentation, which is one of the projects on the list.

"I'm now calling together this national roundtable to work through the possible barriers to investment and to discuss investment models and options that could work in Australia to get good projects moving.

"This roundtable is part of a longer term vision by the Coalition; none of these projects will happen overnight but this is an important step in the process – a process already underway," Minister Joyce said.