Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

The Hon Paul Caica

Minister for Sustainability, Environment & Conservation
Minister for Water and the River Murray

Funding for study into South Australian irrigation industry

Medi release
18 July 2012

The Gillard Government will provide up to $1.2 million to explore new proposals to improve irrigation efficiency in South Australia.

Water Minister Tony Burke said he wanted to explore options for infrastructure funding for South Australian irrigators that provided value for money and would help restore the health of the Murray-Darling Basin.

The funding will support the South Australian Government and the South Australian Water Industry Alliance to undertake a feasibility study and a business case and program proposal for the South Australian River Murray Improvements Program.

“The high efficiency of so many south Australian irrigators has made it difficult for many of them to access previous rounds of funding,’’ he said.

“This initiative aims to find ways that South Australian irrigators can help bridge the gap and still get their fair share of funds.

“I’m pleased the funding will give South Australia the opportunity to examine in depth some of the ideas put forward in an initial discussion paper by the Water Industry Alliance.

“I am willing to look at new options for how the funding for infrastructure investments in South Australia can do that while delivering water savings to help achieve the Government’s commitment to bridge the gap.

“I encourage all members of the South Australian irrigation industry to get involved with this study to ensure we get the best ideas possible for potential water saving activities”.
South Australian Minister for Water and the River Murray Paul Caica welcomed the Commonwealth funding, and said it was a chance to build on the state’s past water saving efforts and invest in the region.

"This funding is the first step towards helping our irrigators take their water efficiency to the next level and enhance their reputation for sustainable and high quality produce,’’ he said.

“South Australian irrigators are committed to a healthy river system and investigating ways of saving more water."

Water Industry Alliance CEO Andy Robert said the proposal is an example of how state and federal governments and the irrigation industry can work together to develop innovative solutions to make irrigation-dependent businesses more resilient and sustainable.

The study will be run by the South Australian Government, in partnership with the Water Industry Alliance and is expected to report by the end of 2012. The Gillard Government will consider the outcomes of the study.