​Media Release

$20m for expanded agriculture and more jobs in the Macalister Irrigation District

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester


28 August 2017​

  • $20m in federal funding will soon flow for a project to modernise water infrastructure in the Macalister Irrigation District, with the Australian and Victorian governments agreeing to a schedule for delivery of the project.
  • This funding delivers on a key election commitment under the government's $500m National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
  • The project is expected to increase the area under irrigation, generate a $10.3 million increase in farmgate product each year and create 100 long term jobs.

​Funding will soon flow for a project to modernise water infrastructure in Victoria's Macalister Irrigation District, creating 208 jobs during construction and 100 long term jobs, with the Australian and Victorian governments agreeing to a schedule for delivery of the project.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, said the funding delivered on a key election commitment under the government's $500 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

"This project will overhaul outdated water infrastructure in the Macalister Irrigation District, delivering water savings that will be used to increase supply security and expand irrigated agriculture, generating a $10.3 million increase in farmgate product each year," Minister Joyce said.

"It is expected that this project will create 208 jobs during the construction phase, and 100 long term jobs in the region as a result of increased farm production.

"Last year, I put almost $250 million on the table for five priority water infrastructure projects across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia as part of the Coalition's commitment to unlocking the potential of rural and regional Australia through agricultural productivity and economic growth."

Mr Chester said the project would ensure the water supply system was operating at its optimum and supporting more productive and profitable farm businesses.

"This is a real win for producers in our state's largest irrigation district, who are already known for their world-class produce including dairy and horticulture products," Minister Chester said.

"This infrastructure upgrade will see open channels replaced with 39km of pipeline, reducing water losses as a result of evaporation and seepage.

"By minimising water wastage, this project will save 9700 megalitres of water each year, meaning water that would otherwise be lost can be used to increase farm productivity."

The Macalister Irrigation District is the largest irrigation district in southern Victoria, with an estimated annual economic contribution in excess of $500 million per year.

Fast facts

  • The Australian Government is delivering the most significant investment in water infrastructure in Australia's history, including through the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility and $500 million NWIDF.
  • The Australian Government is also making $20m available for construction of the South West Loddon Pipeline in Victoria.​