The Nationals WA have welcomed today’s announcement of Federal funding for the Water for Food Myalup-Wellington project, kick-started by Royalties for Regions and The Nationals in Government.
Leader Mia Davies said the long-held ambition of reducing salinity levels in Wellington Dam was championed by The Nationals as part of an initiative to expand irrigated agriculture in WA and double production by 2050.
“Wellington Dam is Western Australia’s second largest reservoir with a capacity of 185 gigalitres, and has long been plagued by rising salinity,” Ms Davies said.
“Our team took on the challenge set by growers and industry in the region, knowing that there had been many attempts to solve the salinity issue, environmental damage and impact on productivity for growers.
“Currently, just 6557 hectares of the available 34,600 hectares of the Collie River, Harvey and Waroona districts are irrigated due to impediments to growth and limitations in infrastructure and the salinity of the water.”
Ms Davies offered her congratulations to Harvey Water for their persistence and engagement with Government, and to the Collie Water consortium that will bring private sector investment to support State and Federal funding.
“This can be a truly transformational project for the South West and it underscores the value of the way The Nationals in Government set up the Royalty for Regions program,” she said.
“Leveraging funding and expertise from the private sector, working with State, Federal and Local Governments to deliver an industry-led solution and life-changing outcomes for regional communities is at the heart of Royalties for Regions.”
Nationals’ Member for South West Region Colin Holt said the Myalup-Wellington project has the potential to further diversify and expand the region’s economy.
“The vast reserves of Wellington Dam can now be used to create thousands of hectares of irrigated farmland,” he said.
“Our farmers put forward $30 million of their own money to prove how serious they were about this project.
“I pay credit to Harvey Water, it’s been a long journey but we stuck at it and today we’ve been rewarded.”
Ms Davies and Mr Holt, along with Warren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman, travelled to Canberra in February to argue the case for funding the Myalup-Wellington Water for Food project, as well as the Southern Forest Irrigation Scheme (SFIS).
“We still have a funding application for the SFIS being considered under the Commonwealth’s National Water Infrastructure (NWI) Development Fund,” Mr Redman said.
“I have been in regular contact with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, urging him to deliver on this project.”