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

Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water
Minister for Water

First Major Irrigation Project Launched

Joint media release
20 May 2011

The Minister for Primary Industries and Water Bryan Green today pushed the button on the first major irrigation project to be completed under Tasmania's $400 million water development strategy.

Mr Green said the $11 million Whitemore Irrigation Scheme, west of Launceston, heralded a new era of opportunity for the State's primary industries with the roll-out of further big irrigation projects gathering momentum.

"Irrigation is laying the foundation for further growth and jobs in the agricultural sector across Tasmania for generations to come," Mr Green said.

"Today is a significant milestone with the Whitemore scheme delivered on time and on budget.

"The scheme will provide 5500 megalitres of water annually within an area of 12,000 hectares stretching from the foot of the Western Tiers to just north of Hagley.

A small off-stream holding dam has been built to regulate distribution of the water via 40km of underground pipelines to properties in the district.

Mr Green said 45 farmers had secured water entitlements to the scheme with more connecting to network to take water in the future.

"The Whitemore scheme is one of 13 projects being progressed around the State which will underpin existing production and offer opportunities for future expansion and diversification," Mr Green said.

Federal Minister for Water Tony Burke said the completion of the Whitemore Scheme was a significant investment in the future of Tasmania's primary industries.

The Gillard Government has committed $140 million to Tasmania's water development strategy.

"The Gillard Government supports 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.

"This partnership between our governments and the private sector will deliver sustainable growth and diversity in Tasmania's agricultural sector for decades to come.

The Gillard Government provided $3.4 million towards the Whitemore scheme with farmers contributing more than $6 million to construction costs through the purchase of water entitlements and the State Government $1.7 million.

Member for Lyons Dick Adams said he now looked forward to a start of the Midlands Irrigation Scheme.

"The $88 million Midlands project is the biggest ever irrigation development to be undertaken in Tasmania," Mr Adams said.

"The wider community benefits from increased economic activity and employment over time throughout the region cannot be overstated.

"Tasmania's farming communities are making themselves 'water ready' and will be well positioned to both maintain production and take advantage of new opportunities," Mr Adams said.