​Media Release

Infrastructure investment makes waves on World Water Day

22 March 2017

  • World Water Day, 22 March, is an opportunity to consider the important role that water plays in human health, economic development, food security and the environment.
  • The Coalition Government is making the most significant investment in water infrastructure in Australian history to drive regional investment, agricultural production and jobs.
  • Water security is at the heart of our nation’s future prosperity, with $8 billion available for more modern and efficient water infrastructure on and off-farm.
  • On World Water Day, the Coalition Government is reaffirming its commitment to supporting greater water security for the health and wealth of all Australians.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said World Water Day provided an opportunity to consider the importance of water to our wealth and way of life.

“Water and agriculture are intrinsically linked, which is why the Coalition Government has put them in the same ministerial portfolio. Agriculture is a key pillar of the Australian economy, which is why I have taken it to the second highest office in the country,” Minister Joyce said.

“The Coalition Government is delivering on the kinds of projects that will help to provide more opportunities to our rural and regional communities, creating jobs, and growing local economies and industries.

“Most Australians are fortunate to have access to plentiful, clean, fresh water at the turn of a tap, but those on the land, who have lived through drought, know better than anyone that water is a precious and limited resource.

“Efficiently and effectively managing our nation’s water resources and strengthening our water security will be vital to our future economic growth and prosperity through expanded agricultural production and more jobs.

“Under the Australian Constitution, primary responsibility for water management lies with state and territory governments but I recognise that this is an area that requires national leadership. This is why the Coalition Government has created the $500 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility. The fund and loan facility are in place to incentivise state and territory governments to fast-track priority projects that will support growth in our agricultural industries and regional communities.

“This funding is already kick-starting the planning and delivery of water infrastructure projects across the country, including new and augmented water infrastructure, such as dams, pipelines and managed aquifer recharge projects.

“It’s also vital that we make every drop of this limited resource work harder, so we’re increasing the efficiency of water use wherever we can.

“That is why, through the Murray–Darling Basin Plan, we are making $8 billion available for more modern and efficient water infrastructure on and off-farm, to secure a strong and productive future for the Basin and the communities who live there.

“This government’s nation-building investments in water infrastructure are a legacy that will continue to deliver real benefits to Australia’s rural and regional communities for generations to come.”

Fast facts

  • Australia has an accessible water storage capacity of almost 81,000GL, which is currently around 68% full at 55,000 GL.
  • Under the $500 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund, the Coalition Government has earmarked capital funding of almost $250 million to fast-track construction of key projects with the potential to deliver big benefits for production, local employment and regional development—including Rookwood Weir in Queensland ($130 million), Dungowan Dam in New South Wales ($75 million), and the Macalister Irrigation District ($20 million) and South West Loddon Pipeline in Victoria ($20 million) and McLaren Vale water storage in South Australia ($2.5 million).
  • A list of the planning studies being funded by the Coalition Government is available at agriculture.gov.au/water/national/national-water-infrastructure-development-fund/nwidf-feasibility-study.
  • About 70 per cent of the world’s freshwater is used to support agricultural production.