“The Government is expediting the planning work required to get water infrastructure projects shovel-ready because we are serious about ensuring water infrastructure gets built as quickly as possible, to help support strong regional economies and communities,” Minister Joyce said.
“This work is a key part of the process, detailing the feasibility, economic returns and sustainability of these projects, as we identify the best sites to deliver new water infrastructure.”
Minister Joyce today committed $300,000 to fast-track a feasibility study into developing the Coldstream Recycled-water Pipeline for high value horticultural production in the Yarra Valley and Lilydale and $91,500 to develop a water plan for South East Melbourne.
Mr Smith said the Coldstream Pipeline study will investigate the feasibility of a recycled water pipeline for prime agricultural land, supplying an extra billion litres of recycled water from the Yarra Valley Water's treatment plant at Lilydale.
“Following this study, the project could be close to 'shovel-ready' in 2017. Water security for this region could lead to more jobs and wider economic benefits from primary production, wine and food processing, agri-tourism and recreation,” Mr Smith said.
“In addition, a feasibility study on establishing a polishing plant to provide fit-for-purpose recycled water to strawberry growers is part of this assessment. Without being exposed to seasonal variability this project will promote exports to global markets, as growers will have confidence to sign long-term contracts.
“The $91,500 grant will enable the development of a plan to use non-potable water to support intensive horticulture and associated employment and investment across South East Melbourne.
“The study will assess the likely water supply over the next twenty years, including investigating putting recycled water to productive use.”
Minister Joyce praised the efforts of the local Casey community and said the Coalition was delivering on its $2.5 billion commitment to building the water infrastructure of the future.
“Tony Smith, the local growers, and Yarra Ranges Council have been passionate advocates for this project,” he said.
“It’s the right time for our significant investment in water infrastructure. A transitioning economy and growing global demand for agrifood products mean this is a time of unprecedented opportunity for our agriculture sector.”
“As the economy transitions and diversifies, agricultural exports are playing a more important role than ever in our nation’s economy and prosperity. Rural exports have already overtaken coal to become our second-largest export after iron ore.
“The Coalition is taking action by carrying out the most significant investment in infrastructure in Australian history, including through the roll-out of our $15 billion water reform agenda, so we can make the most of these opportunities.
“From water infrastructure, to transport infrastructure and digital infrastructure, the Coalition is laying the foundations to support a productive and profitable agriculture sector, and a strong national economy.”