Landholders in the Mallee region will no longer be charged a salinity levy of 50 cents per megaliter following its abolition by the Andrews Labor Government, fulfilling the promise made in its comprehensive Water for Victoria policy.
Minister for Water Lisa Neville said today that local irrigators that currently pay the levy will save an average of $200 per year from 1 July.
The abolition of the levy is in recognition of the investment and effort of irrigators in the Mallee region to adopt modern, best practice irrigation – becoming the benchmark for local agriculture and improving the environment.
The levy has been in place since 1993 and was introduced to improve irrigation management and reduce the impact of salinity. Its removal reflects the success of investments made by the Government in on-farm improvements in the region.
With the help of incentives from the levy, over 95 per cent of farmers are now using efficient, pressurised irrigation systems and understand how to effectively meet the water needs of their crops. More than 200 properties participated in the incentive program funded by the levy in the last 20 years.
The current framework will continue to support salinity management in the Mallee, which includes the salinity impact zoning system and fees that offset salinity impacts on the Murray River from new irrigation developments.
The Labor Government’s Water for Victoria policy made a commitment to update salinity charges to match the needs to the community – abolishing this levy is a positive step towards that. Salinity offset charges are also being refined as part of this commitment.
In the mid-1990s, many irrigators were using highly inefficient gravity fed irrigation to grow crops, which contributed to rising salinity across the region.
The strong salinity framework will continue to ensure risks are minimised and the Mallee remains a place where irrigation businesses can invest with confidence.
The Labor Government recognises the good work of the Mallee Catchment Management Authority and Lower Murray Water, and will continue to partner with them to further improve Victoria’s leading approach to managing salinity impacts.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Water Lisa Neville
“Cutting the salinity levy will support Mallee irrigators, and recognises the great work of local landholders in managing the impacts of salinity.”
“We said we would improve salinity management in the Mallee – and that’s what we are doing.”
Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp
“The removal of this levy will make a real difference to landholders in the Mallee and shows our Government is serious about improving the impacts of salinity impacts on irrigators.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020