Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Irrigation infrastructure efficiency grants program for South Australia - Round 2

Media release
5 November 2010

South Australian River Murray irrigation operators are invited to apply for Australian Government funding to improve water efficiency and return water to rivers and wetlands.

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Tony Burke today released guidelines for Round 2 of the Private Irrigation Infrastructure Program – South Australia.

“This program provides an opportunity for South Australian irrigators to access funding for irrigation infrastructure efficiency upgrades,” Mr Burke said.

"I appreciate the comments from many South Australian irrigators, including in Renmark today, that they have been long-term and early adopters of irrigation efficiencies.

"These grants are one of the measures to help ensure we get the maximum benefits to production and the environment.

“This is an opportunity for irrigators to consider further efficiency measures in light of longer-term issues facing the Murray-Darling Basin, including a changing climate.

“Water savings generated through efficiency measures will be shared between the project proponents and the Australian Government.

“Water savings returned to the environment will count towards the Government’s commitment to ‘bridge the gap’.

“This investment is part of the Gillard Government’s $5.8 billion investment in water efficiency upgrades and support for regional communities.

“I have said from the moment I became Water Minister that I wanted to deliver a Plan for the Murray Darling that underscores the importance of regional communities and food production, I believe this funding will help achieve this.”

The Government will invest in projects assessed competitively and against the merit criteria of the program.

The program is open to irrigation trusts and direct diverters to enable all River Murray licence holders to participate. They may do so individually or as parties to a joint application through a trust or through a delivery partner. Direct diverters holding smaller licences of less than 500 megalitres are also able to participate through a delivery partner.

The Private Irrigation Infrastructure Program – South Australia program is a component of the Australian Government’s 10-year Water for the Future initiative.

More information on this program and Water for the Future can found at www.environment.gov.au/water.