​Media Release

Securing Australia's water supply for the future

5 July 2015

The Australian Government has set up a National Water Infrastructure Development Fund with $500 million for water infrastructure, including dams, through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said $50 million would be allocated to support the planning necessary to decide on viable projects for investment, and $450 million was available to construct water infrastructure in partnership with states and territories.

"Water is the most basic input for life—this funding will help supply water for communities, agriculture and industry," Minister Joyce said.

"It's a critically important resource for our farmers, who have their work cut out for them feeding the nation, as well as 40 million people beyond our shores, while working the driest inhabited continent on earth.

"This investment is nation building—and justly—up to $200 million of these funds are allocated to Northern Australia through its white paper announced in June.

"A lot of work has been done to identify dams and water infrastructure projects that will benefit rural and regional communities and agriculture—including through the efforts of the Water Infrastructure Ministerial Working Group that I chair.

"There is a long and growing list of suggested sites and projects that could benefit from funding right across the country from managed aquifer recharge in the Northern Territory to Gippsland's Macalister Irrigation District Southern Pipeline in Victoria.

"There are many great opportunities in the Nathan and Emu Swamp dams, Rookwood and Eden Bann weirs in Queensland, Dungowan Dam in New South Wales and the Ord Stage 3 in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

"The funding in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper builds on existing commitments to water infrastructure in the Great Artesian Basin, Tasmania and the Murray-Darling Basin.

Minister Joyce said water infrastructure was central to the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper because it set out the government's priorities for agriculture for the next generation.

"It will be up to all of us to play our parts to make agriculture an even more profitable and dynamic sector in the future."

The White Paper was informed by comprehensive stakeholder consultation—more than 1000 submissions were received and the government talked face-to-face with more than 1100 people across the country in developing this document. The White Paper is available at agwhitepaper.agriculture.gov.au​.