WA water fund fail
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.