Fed free-money for rural electorates, to upgrade water systems; Turnbull accuses Labor of raiding $10bn fund to prop-up NSW Labor candidates
Posted by waterweek on 17 October 2007
Water Resources Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has previously ruled out compulsory buybacks of water in the over-allocated river system, as the Nationals warned that forcing farmers to relinquish some of their water rights could devastate irrigation districts, wrote Sophie Morris in The Australian Financial Review (13/10/2007, p.8).
Big grants available: Instead, the government was trying to save water through improving delivery systems and reducing loss through evaporation and leaky pipes. Turnbull said that grants of up to $500,000 would also be available for private irrigation companies to develop plans to modernise their infrastructure and model what water savings could be achieved. Turnbull announced funding for two such modernisation plans on Friday.
Upgrades to systems: He said upgrades to delivery systems in the Trangie‑Nevertire irrigation scheme in the Macquarie Valley in western NSW could save up to 25,000 megalitres, or 35 per cent of entitlements, in the district. Another $500,000 would be earmarked for modernisation of the Murray Irrigation Limited water supply infrastructure in NSW, with estimated savings of 50,000ML. Labor earlier this month said it would use $4.6 million from the $10 billion fund for a plan to relieve pressure on the Fish River in Sydney’s west, increasing flows into the Darling River by 3.6 gigalitres a year. But Turnbull accused Labor of raiding the fund and using it to prop up Labor candidates by announcing the Fish River funding in the marginal electorate of Macquarie.
The Australian Financial Review, 13/10/2007, p. 8