Ararat pipe win

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Front Page - BY DEAN LAW­SON

An Ararat mu­nic­i­pal leader has joined a cho­rus in de­scrib­ing a $32-mil­lion Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment in­vest­ment to help es­tab­lish greater wa­ter se­cu­rity in the re­gion as an eco­nomic game changer.

Ararat Ru­ral City Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Tim Har­ri­son said the prospect of an East Grampians Pipe­line be­com­ing a re­al­ity rep­re­sented a mas­sive

step for­ward for the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and its near neigh­bours.

Dr Har­ri­son added the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment an­nounce­ment – ‘the fi­nal fi­nan­cial piece’ in the $85.5-mil­lion project puz­zle – was a clear re­flec­tion of what could hap­pen when in­di­vid­u­als and par­ties worked to­gether.

“It will be one of the big­gest things that has hap­pened for this mu­nic­i­pal­ity and we couldn’t be more ex­cited,” he said. “We’ve been sweat­ing on this. Hav­ing wa­ter se­cu­rity for the ma­jor­ity of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity will be a to­tal game changer.

“Not only will farm­ers have surety in usual agri­cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties, it will also open up op­por­tu­ni­ties to val­ueadding in­dus­tries such as hor­ti­cul­ture and viti­cul­ture.

“There’s been plenty of me­dia in the past cou­ple of years about di­vi­sion in Ararat, but this shows, when we work to­gether around a par­tic­u­lar project, what we can achieve.”

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Michael Mccor­mack joined Mr Te­han along­side Vic­to­rian Mem­ber for Ripon Louise Sta­ley and Mem­ber for Lowan Emma Kealy at farmer Char­lie de Fegely’s Ararat dis­trict prop­erty for the an­nounce­ment.

Ararat mayor Peter Beales, North­ern Grampians mayor Kevin Er­win, Gwmwa­ter man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Mark Wil­liams and board chair­man Peter Vo­gel and about 30 dis­trict farm­ers also at­tended the oc­ca­sion.

The $32-mil­lion matches $32-mil­lion pro­vided by the State Gov­ern­ment for the project last year.

Gwmwa­ter and landown­ers make up the bal­ance.

Mr Te­han con­firmed the money would be forth­com­ing re­gard­less of the re­sult of Satur­day’s Fed­eral Elec­tion.

“The best thing about this is that it is a bud­geted com­mit­ment,” he said.

“The money was in this year’s bud­get so the project is go­ing ahead no mat­ter who wins the forth­com­ing elec­tion.

“It is a fan­tas­tic an­nounce­ment. It means that this re­gion will be drought proof with a 95 per­cent guar­an­tee of wa­ter sup­ply.

“With this type of in­vest­ment we will see this re­gion con­tinue to be one of the best agri­cul­ture pro­duc­tion re­gions in Aus­tralia.

“It will be a win­ner for lo­cal jobs. We know if farm­ers have cer­tainty to in­vest in farms we will see pro­duc­tion grow and when pro­duc­tion grows em­ploy­ment grows.

“We ex­pect jobs to be cre­ated from this over the long term.

“It is an in­vest­ment in our ru­ral in­dus­tries and we know when we in­vest in ru­ral in­dus­tries we get bet­ter em­ploy­ment re­sults.”

Ararat coun­cil lead­ers made a last­bid pre-elec­tion ap­peal for the fed­eral money through The Weekly Ad­ver­tiser last month.

At the time, Cr Beales said re­gard­less of which party won the elec­tion, the re­gion’s wa­ter is­sues would re­main un­til the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment took ac­tion.

Mean­while, La­bor can­di­date for Wan­non Mau­rice Billi also wel­comed the an­nounce­ment, adding he be­lieved a La­bor gov­ern­ment would have joined Vic­to­rian La­bor in back­ing the project.

“Of course I sup­port it. But I’m curious about the tim­ing,” he said.

“It’s not an elec­tion prom­ise, it is some­thing that has been bud­geted for.

“This means the Coali­tion has been sit­ting on this for a while.

“Ararat peo­ple have been wait­ing anx­iously for this and it ap­pears to have been used it as a po­lit­i­cal lever.”

The pipe­line will pro­vide a retic­u­lated wa­ter-de­liv­ery net­work and Gwmwa­ter is seek­ing ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est from agri­cul­tural busi­nesses for con­nec­tion.

It in­volves con­struc­tion of 1600 kilo­me­tres of stock and do­mes­tic pipe­line for up to 530,000 hectares roughly stretch­ing from the east­ern fringe of Grampians Na­tional Park to be­yond Buan­gor and Stoneleigh and from Joel South in the north to Lake Bo­lac in the south.

It would also stretch from Ever­s­ley in the north­east to Stavely in the south­west.

Ex­pec­ta­tions are that on com­ple­tion, a fully op­er­a­tional pipe­line would pro­vide high-qual­ity wa­ter from the Grampians via Lake Fyans for up to 1500 ru­ral farm­ing prop­er­ties.

WA­TER DE­LIV­ERY: From left, Mem­ber for Wan­non Dan Te­han, Ararat dis­trict farmer Char­lie de Fegely and Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Michael Mccor­mack at Mr de Fegely’s farm.

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