​​​Media Release

Flood of applications for funding to plan better national water infrastructure

28 January 2016

A total of 54 applications have been received as part of the current round of feasibility funding under the Australian Government's $500 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund, which closed for applications on 21 January 2016.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said he was delighted to see how strong the interest in the programme had been.

"In total, over $87 million in Australian Government funding has been requested by the states and territories and their project partners to accelerate the planning and development for nationally significant water infrastructure projects that will support the expansion of regional and rural economies," Minister Joyce said.

"Of the 54 expressions of interest received, 23 were for studies in Northern Australia. With a budget of $25 million, including at least $5 million for projects in Northern Australia, there is clearly strong competition for this funding.

"I am confident that from this competitive field we will see some big ideas for water infrastructure that will help us grow our economy, meet future challenges and better manage this vital resource.

"An independent expert panel has been engaged to evaluate the applications over the coming weeks and I look forward to announcing the successful projects soon.

"Through the NWIDF, we are delivering on our commitment under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to invest $500 million in developing the nation's water infrastructure—comprising $50 million to start the detailed planning necessary to build new water infrastructure, and $450 million for capital works.

"We are committed to working in partnership with the states and territories to ensure we have the right infrastructure in the right place to secure the future prosperity of our agricultural industries and rural and regional communities.

"Under the feasibility component of the fund, state and territory governments were invited to apply for funding to undertake the critical early planning work including technical, environmental and economic assessments on specific water infrastructure projects.

"The capital works component of the fund will make $450 million available from 2017-18 for co-investments in construction of priority water infrastructure projects, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis in consultation with states and territories.

"The fund will support water infrastructure projects across the country—including new and augmented water infrastructure, such as dams, pipelines and managed aquifer recharge projects—to secure the nation's water supplies and deliver strong economic benefits while also protecting our environment.

"This is another example of how the clear policies and practical measures we outlined in the Ag White Paper are delivering tangible benefits for farmers, business and the community."

More information of the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund is available at agriculture.gov.au/water-infrastructure.

For more information on the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, visit agwhitepaper.agriculture.gov.au. ​​