Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Bryan Green MP

Minister for Primary Industries and Water

North-East Irrigation Scheme opened

Media release
06 December 2011

The Federal Minister for Water Tony Burke and the Minister for Primary Industries and Water Bryan Green today officially opened the first water scheme in the North-East under Tasmania's irrigation development plan.

The $4.5 million Headquarters Road dam near Scottsdale will deliver extra water to farmers in the upper catchment of the Great Forester River Valley.

"The Gillard Government is supporting the expansion of Tasmania irrigation network because we know how important an efficient system is to the productivity of the region's irrigators," Mr Burke said.

"The Headquarters Road dam will drive a diversity of farming enterprises by giving farmers the confidence to plan for the future with high-level water security.

"This scheme is a great example of the benefits that can flow to regional communities when Governments and the private sector work in partnership."

The Gillard and Giddings Governments funded just over half the cost of construction with farmers contributing the remainder through the purchase of water rights to the 1980 megalitre scheme.

Mr Burke said the governments had set aside $220 million to expand Tasmania's irrigation network which was expected to leverage a similar amount of private investment.

"We are delivering significant irrigation projects around Tasmania that are economically and environmentally sustainable," Mr Burke said.

Mr Green welcomed the completion of the Headquarters Road dam which will deliver water for an irrigable area of about 1,800 hectares.

He said it was as another milestone in the State's water development strategy.

"We are almost half way through the current list of 13 irrigation projects we are developing around Tasmania," Mr Green said.

Mr Green said four of those schemes were in the North-East.

"The Winnaleah Irrigation Scheme is expected to be completed by mid February next year, a business case is being developed for the Upper Ringarooma scheme and a preferred option is being investigated for a scheme in the Great Forester and Brid catchments.

"Water surety is the key to making the most of the rich diversity of farming in the North East and it is projects like this that will underpin the growth of the region for decades to come," Mr Green said.

Mr Green said he expected more positive news soon with construction of $88 million Midlands scheme, the largest ever in the State, on track to begin in the first half of next year.