The Andrews Labor Government has announced a clear way forward for the Connections Project to ensure it maximises water savings and secures the future of irrigated agriculture in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID) for generations to come.
Visiting an irrigation property near Shepparton today, Minister for Water Lisa Neville released details of the Connections ‘reset’, which was announced after a mid-term review of the project.
The key components of the reset are included in a new project roadmap outlining key achievements so far, the financial status of Connections and strategies for the project moving forward.
The roadmap was prepared by the Project Control Group (PCG) which was appointed by the Minister in March.
The Government will work with local irrigators to find the best solutions for increased productivity, deliver more modern and efficient irrigation systems, and secure water savings as part of Victoria’s work to deliver the Murray Darling Basin plan.
The Connections reset is being developed by the PCG and Goulburn Murray Water, with on-going input from stakeholders and the community. Together they will ensure the remaining $827 million of available funds is used efficiently. Project options being considered include:
- A greater focus on tailoring solutions for individual channels
- Modernising channels that support the highest number of primary producers
- Replacing meters and modernising high water loss channels
- Prioritising connections that support food and fibre production, the regional economy and jobs
The Government has released a summary document of the PwC baseline financial report, which provides details about the independent review and its key findings.
The report shows that as of 29 February this year, there was $827 million available for the project. This is made up of $439 million of funds already committed and $388 million available in uncommitted funds.
The Commonwealth, the Victorian Government and Goulburn Murray Water are working to deliver the $2 billion Connections project for the benefit of irrigators, GMID communities and the environment.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Water Lisa Neville
“This is the most significant irrigation infrastructure upgrade in Victoria’s history and the Connections reset represents a major step forward.”
“We’ll work with landowners to ensure we maximise the benefits of the Connections project through regional investment, greater security for irrigators and real water savings."
“Since 2008, Connections has delivered more than 225 GL of water savings and benefited more than 3,000 landowners. We’ll continue this vital work for the benefit of the region and Victoria.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020