Work on a business case for the proposed Lakeland Irrigation Scheme will soon begin after the Australian and Queensland Governments signing a formal project agreement.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the scheme would drive further investment and economic activity right across the Lakeland Irrigation area, boosting agriculture, the local economy and regional jobs.
“The Lakeland Irrigation Area feasibility study which was completed early last year found the proposed scheme has the potential to expand irrigated agriculture by around 8,000 hectares,” Mr McCormack said.
“It will also support around 1,100 long-term jobs and provide a major economic stimulus for Northern Australia.
“The Morrison Government is fully funding the $10 million business case through the feasibility component of the $1.5 billion National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
“We are committed to standing side by side with our farmers – whether through drought, extreme weather events such as floods or the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.”
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said water security and affordability were key concerns for growers in the Lakeland Irrigation area.
“We have listened to our local producers and we are acting by funding this crucial business case for the proposed scheme,” Mr Entsch said.
“It’ll be designed to increase the secure water available for local agriculture, giving farmers the confidence to invest in expanded and higher-value production.”
Townsville-based Senator for Queensland Susan McDonald said this was a major step for the project, delivering the final engineering and scoping works on this region-defining project.
“I know just how vital water is for all our farmers and in fact the whole community in Lakeland, which has long established itself as home to a vibrant agricultural precinct,” Senator McDonald said.
“This is why we are continuing to fund feasibility studies and business cases into projects which will help us increase local water supply and security, grow our world-renowned agriculture sector and build resilience to drought in our regions.”
The detailed business case and approvals for the Lakeland Irrigation Scheme is due for completion by late September 2022.
The National Water Infrastructure Development Fund is part of the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government’s $3.5 billion commitment to identify and build the dams, weirs and pipelines which will deliver the National Water Grid, helping deliver secure and affordable water right across rural and regional Australia.
For more information on the Australian Government’s investment in planning and funding the next generation of water infrastructure, visit nationalwatergrid.gov.au.