Cash boost to secure Australia’s Water Future

 

The Commonwealth government is delivering the most significant investment in water infrastructure in Australian history, strengthening the nation’s future resource security, economic growth, and prosperity.

An additional $440 million to break ground on key water projects across Australia has been put on the table with today’s release of the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund (NWIDF) guidelines.

This investment will ensure our agriculture sector and regional economies are well-placed to capitalise on the opportunities of a transitioning and diversifying economy.

Under the NWIDF, we have already made available almost $60 million to expedite the planning work needed to get major projects shovel-ready and now we are making $440 million available for capital works to get priority projects built as quickly as possible.

Our government is serious about getting on with the business of building new infrastructure. In addition to the NWIDF, we will be delivering a new $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility to get even more projects up and running by providing concessional loans to states and territories.

The program stands in stark contrast to Bill Shorten's Labor Party which had admitted it would gut funding to water infrastructure to plug its election costings.

We are getting on with the job of building vital job creating infrastructure for Australia.

This is a historic investment in Australian water. The $500 million NWIDF on top of the $2 billion Water Infrastructure Loans Facility is a $2.5 billion windfall to drive growth into our regional economies and communities.

So far, the Australian Government has made in-principle commitments to five priority projects — Rookwood Weir in Queensland, Dungowan Dam in NSW, the Macalister Irrigation District and South - West Loddon Pipeline in Victoria and the McLaren Vale water storages project in South Australia — pending formal project proposals and co-funding commitments from the states.

The Rookwood Weir project alone has the potential to double agricultural production in the region

— unlocking an additional $1 billion in production value.

The overwhelming response to the feasibility component of the Fund is likely to translate into strong interest in capital works funding.

The NWIDF will provide $450 million to state and territory governments to build new water infrastructure such as dams, pipelines, managed aquifer recharge projects, water treatment, capture and reuse schemes.

Projects will be considered for funding on a case-by-case basis and will be assessed by an independent panel of experts for their economic viability, and ability to provide secure and affordable water to underpin the growth of regional economies and communities.

For more information, visit www.agriculture.gov.au/nwidf

Fast facts:

  • The government has so far approved almost $60 million in funding for 39 feasibility studies under the feasibility component of the NWIDF
  • Australia has a total accessible water storage capacity of almost 81,000 GL, which is currently around 68% full at 55,292 GL
  • Australia’s largest constructed reservoir is Lake Gordon, held back by Gordon Dam, with a capacity of more than 11,000 GL—that’s 22 Sydney Harbours