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Strengthening Gippsland Communities

03 August 2015

Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville today turned the first sod on the $5.84 million Southern Cowwarr Balancing Storage - a key part of the Macalister Irrigation District modernisation project.

This 160 megalitre balancing storage in North Gippsland will greatly improve customer service downstream, allowing automation of the irrigation system in about one third of the Macalister Irrigation District.

The Macalister Irrigation District Phase 1A project will result in over 12,300 megalitres of water savings annually, reduce nutrient flow into the Gippsland Lakes and provide a better service for farmers.

The Victorian Government has invested $16 million in the Macalister Irrigation District project, with Southern Rural Water and its customers also contributing $16 million.

Minister Neville said the next phase of this important project could be considered through the new $200 million Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund which the Premier announced yesterday that will be established following the successful passage of the Port of Melbourne lease legislation through the Parliament.

The new $200 million Fund will support investment in agricultural infrastructure and supply chains to boost productivity, increase exports and reduce costs so our farmers, businesses and industries can stay competitive.

It will be available for practical projects and programs that wholly benefit the agriculture sector, including transport, irrigation, and energy projects, as well as skills development programs and market access campaigns.

The Fund will become available following the successful passage of the Delivering Victorian Infrastructure (Port of Melbourne Lease Transaction) Bill 2015 which the Liberals and Nationals voted against in the Legislative Assembly.

Ms Neville also announced today that the Government was seeking expressions of interest for appointments to the Gippsland Lakes Coordinating Committee (GLCC).

The West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Chair, Mr Angus Hume and the East Gippsland CMA Chair, Dr Peter Veenker, will jointly chair the Committee – with a focus on improving the health of the Gippsland Lakes through on-ground management and community engagement.

Up to five community positions are being advertised for candidates who live or work locally, or have intimate knowledge of the Gippsland Lakes. The refreshed Gippsland Lakes Coordinating Committee will also include representatives from a range of organisations and individuals that have a role in the management of the Lakes

The Victorian Government announced $2.5 million in funding to further improve the health of the Lakes in the 2015/16 State budget.

For more information on the Expressions of Interest process, which closes at 5pm Monday 24 August, go to Link

Quotes attributable to Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville

“The Macalister Irrigation District contributes in excess of $500 million through dairy, vegetable production, cropping and beef cattle to the Gippsland economy.

“We understand the importance of this District and the new Infrastructure and Jobs Fund could help the region prosper further.”

Quotes attributable to Labor Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing

“We are committed to protecting and improving the health of the Gippsland Lakes and I’m encouraging local candidates with knowledge and expertise of the Lakes to help us achieve this goal by applying for a position on the GLCC.”

“I’m delighted we have the experience and expertise of Dr Veenker and Mr Hume to guide our efforts to look after and improve the Lakes which are such an important economic, environmental, cultural and social asset for the region.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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