WA water fund fail

Shepparton News - Country News - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

West­ern Aus­tralian Agri­cul­tural Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan has ac­cused the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment of pri­ori­tis­ing fund­ing for the Murray-Dar­ling Basin at the ex­pense of 1500 jobs and West­ern Aus­tralia’s agri­cul­tural in­dus­try.

The Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment has re­jected WA’s re­quest for $39.7 mil­lion to­wards ir­ri­gat­ing the South­ern For­est re­gion and $140 mil­lion on solv­ing the dev­as­tat­ing long-term salin­ity prob­lem at WA’s sec­ond-largest water reser­voir.

Prior to the Prime Min­is­ter’s visit ear­lier this month, the McGowan Gov­ern­ment pledged to con­trib­ute $56 mil­lion in state fund­ing, plus $10 mil­lion in pri­vate funds from farm­ers in Pem­ber­ton and Man­jimup, to gen­er­ate an ex­tra 12 Gl of sus­tain­able ir­ri­ga­tion water a year.

The larger MyalupWelling­ton project was a joint in­dus­try scheme to clean up con­tam­i­na­tion in Welling­ton Dam and di­vert catch­ment to a de­sali­na­tion plant, po­ten­tially in­creas­ing ir­ri­gated agri­cul­ture from 6557 ha to 34 600 ha.

‘‘WA has re­ceived al­most noth­ing from fed­eral water ini­tia­tives,’’ Ms MacTier­nan said.

‘‘Over­whelm­ingly, money is poured into the Murray-Dar­ling at the ex­pense of WA.’’

Ms MacTier­nan said her gov­ern­ment be­lieved it could dou­ble the value of the state’s hor­ti­cul­tural out­put and cre­ate 1500 re­gional jobs but with­out fed­eral fund­ing would fail to meet its goal.

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