​Media release

Delivering water security for the future of Tasmanian agriculture

11 February 2017

  • Work is commencing on Tasmania’s new Duck Irrigation Scheme, delivering greater water security to irrigators in the region.
  • The Coalition and Tasmanian Governments will work with local irrigators to fund the $30 million project, which will deliver 5200 ML of high security irrigation water to Tasmania’s Circular Head region.
  • Tasmanian Irrigation schemes are a public–private model, where projects works are funded jointly by the Australian and Tasmanian governments and farmers

Work has commenced on a $30 million irrigation project in Circular Head, to deliver greater water security to irrigators in the region and support agricultural productivity, investment and growth.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, Tasmanian Deputy Premier and Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Jeremy Rockliff, and Tasmanian Senator Jonathon Duniam said the Duck Irrigation Scheme is on track for delivery, with the Coalition and Tasmanian Governments signing off on the project over the Christmas break.

“Day after day, the Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to build the water security needed for economic growth, strong regional communities, and expansion of our agricultural industries right across the country,” Minister Joyce said.

“The Duck Irrigation Scheme will deliver 5200 ML of high security irrigation water to the Circular Head Region, providing irrigators with reliable access to water to support dairy production, as well as production of crops like potatoes, onions and carrots.

“We are pleased to contribute $15.8 million to the Duck Irrigation Scheme and I commend the local irrigators who, with the Tasmanian Government, are co-investing over $14 million in the project.”

Minister Rockliff said the new scheme would help support economic growth and jobs in Tasmania’s north-west region.

“This important infrastructure project will involve construction of a 6000 ML dam at Mill Creek, two new pump stations and pipeline to distribute water to farmers in the lrishtown, Mella, Forrest and Smithton districts,” Minister Rockliff said.

“Expanding the state-wide irrigation network is a key part of the Tasmanian Government’s Sustainable AgriFood Plan and our vision to grow the value of our agricultural industry 10-fold to $10 billion by 2050.

“We know that water security improves farmer’s bottom-lines and gives confidence to invest on-farm and chase new markets and this is essential as tariffs into Asia ease and new markets are established.”

Senator Jonathon Duniam, who represented the Coalition Government at today’s official launch in Forest, said the Duck Irrigation Scheme is part of the Coalition’s $60 million commitment to Tasmanian Irrigation Tranche II projects, which also included $25 million for the Swan Valley and Southern Highlands Irrigation Schemes.

“With the right infrastructure in the right place, Tasmania could be a real powerhouse for irrigated agricultural production. The irrigation schemes delivered so far have unlocked real potential in Tasmania’s primary production and we are already seeing the benefits of these investments,” Senator Duniam said.

“There is room for further growth and the Coalition Government has committed $1.78 million to fast-track a feasibility study into potential new areas for developing irrigation schemes in Tasmania.”

For more information on Coalition Government funding for more modern and efficient water infrastructure in Tasmania, visit agriculture.gov.au/water/national/tasmania

For information on Tasmanian Irrigation, visit www.tasmanianirrigation.com.au.  

Fast Facts
  • Dairy is the most valuable agricultural commodity in Tasmania, worth $442 million in 2014–15.
  • In 2014–15, the gross value of agricultural production in Tasmania’s West and North West region was $576 million or 40 % of the state’s total agricultural production.
  • Key commodities in the West and North West region are milk ($269 million), cattle and calves ($114 million) and potatoes ($79 million), which together contributed 80 % of the total value of agricultural production in the region.
  • Tasmania represents less than 1% of Australia’s land mass, but has 12% of the nation’s fresh water resources.