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Investing in sustainable agricultural growth and rural water use

26 August 2021

Guy Barnett MP

Minister for Primary Industries and Water

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is securing Tasmania’s future by delivering our plan to grow the annual farm-gate value of agriculture to $10 billion by 2050 through significant investment in this booming sector.

Agriculture is one of our most important industries. It puts food on our tables and employs more than 7,500 Tasmanians in regional and rural communities, and our fresh Tasmanian produce is the envy of the world. That’s why the Tasmanian Budget 2021-22 delivers on an extensive suite of initiatives that will accelerate our agricultural sector and create more jobs and sustainable growth.

We have delivered our agreement with the University of Tasmania to establish a new Tasmanian Agricultural Precinct at Newnham which will make Tasmania the first jurisdiction in Australia to co-locate agricultural science, water management, industry development and biosecurity functions into a single precinct.

Other agricultural initiatives funded in the Budget include:

  • $15 million in state-of-the-art research facilities at the new Tasmanian Agricultural Precinct, with a satellite hub in Hobart;
  • $3 million for the Agricultural Development Fund to support agricultural research, extension and development;
  • An extra $2 million to expand the Strategic Industry Partnership Program, supporting key sectors such as beef, dairy, fruit and vegetables;
  • $2.6 million to fund a new three-year Rural Business Resilience Package to support Tasmanian farmers and manage the impact of drought on farming communities;
  • $2 million for a new Primary Producer Safety Rebate Scheme to provide cash-back rebates for farmers that implement safety measures; and
  • $2 million to complete the $7 million modernisation of our research farms at Elliott and Forth.

We have also continued our partnership with Landcare with an investment of $900,000 in an expanded Landcare Action Grants Program as well as $250,000 for an exciting Carbon Farming Advice Rebate pilot to develop carbon initiatives and improve land management.

Farmers and land owners know that water is one of Tasmania’s natural advantages and we are delivering $30 million into water resources and irrigation, including:

  • $23.6 million over four years to supersize Tranche 3 of Pipeline to Prosperity to meet increased demand for the Don, Tamar, Sassafras, Northern Midlands and Fingal irrigation schemes, including seeking up to $100 million in additional funding from the Australian Government for this project; and
  • $5 million for Tasmanian Irrigation to develop a business case to deliver the South East Extension Scheme which, when combined with the existing South East Irrigation Scheme, would be the largest in Tasmania.

The South East Extension Scheme will provide an additional 19,300 megalitres of water to the existing scheme for agricultural producers throughout Colebrook, Campania, Richmond, the Coal Valley and Sorell, driving investment and creating hundreds of new jobs.

This vital project is part of our state-wide Pipeline to Prosperity irrigation plan, which, when completed, is expected to deliver more than 78,000 megalitres of water, create up to 2,600 full-time jobs, trigger an additional $150 million in on-farm private investment and inject an estimated $114 million each year into the sector and economy more broadly.

We are also establishing a River Health Advisory Project with $1.5 million committed over four years in the Tasmanian Budget 2021-22 to implement initiatives identified in the Rural Water Use Strategy, with a particular focus on river health, monitoring and metering, including modernising licences and permits.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is delivering our plan by investing into sustainable agriculture and water use that will secure Tasmania’s future for the next decade and towards 2050.