The Andrews Labor Government has announced a $27 million package of measures to support communities dealing with ongoing dry conditions across Victoria.
As part of the package, Premier Daniel Andrews joined Minister for Water Lisa Neville and Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford in Wedderburn to announce that funding will flow to build stage one of the South West Loddon Rural Water Supply Project.
Stage one of the project will see 40km of trunk pipelines laid and three pumps installed at Woosang, Korong Vale and Wychitella, that will be used by local landowners for carting stock and domestic water to their properties.
The construction of the trunk pipelines will create opportunities for landholders to connect to the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline via lateral pipelines that will form part of later stages of the project.
The Government also announced a range of other measures to support drought affected communities as dry conditions continue:
- $1.1 million to increase water supply to remote towns not connected to a secure water supply
- $1 million for the Catchment Management Authority Drought Employment Program which will provide local employment for people directly affected to undertake works on key environmental projects
- $150,000 to extend the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline to increase water supply to properties within the southern Wartook Valley which is currently without a secure raw water supply
- $1.2 million to undertake critical maintenance of key roads in drought affected regions to improve safety and supports efficient and cost effective movement of freight
- $500,000 to establish a Stock Containment Areas Program to protect key soil and land assets and improve livestock management during drought
- $400,000 to support ten Local Governments to deliver targeted social support for drought affected households, businesses and communities through community led events and activities.
The new measures announced today complement a suite of farmer welfare and support measures announced by Mr Andrews last night at a community BBQ in Birchip.
The Government also announced $1 million worth of community infrastructure projects will be fast-tracked in drought affected local councils to help kick-start economic growth and create local jobs.
The Labor Government is also committed to a number of major new investments in the water grid and environmental programs to ensure Victoria has a reliable supply of water and better environmental flows in rivers as part of its new Water Plan.
The plan - to be released in 2016 - will be funded by a four year extension of the successful Environmental Contributions Levy.
As part of the $27 million package, the Government has also set aside $10 million to support drought-affected Victorians and will consult with the community on how these funds are best spent.
Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“We’re working to provide a water plan that improves water security for our communities, especially those in regional Victoria who are already doing it tough.”
“The South West Loddon Rural Water Supply Project will connect locals to the water grid, and we’re fast-tracking funding for stage one of the project to make sure that happens as soon as possible.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Water, Lisa Neville
“The Andrews Labor Government is focused on delivering improved long-term water security to rural communities and extending the Water Grid will play an important part in this.”
“The feasibility study for the South West Loddon Rural Water Supply Project is identifying how to best deliver the project and in the meantime pressing ahead with stage one will ease the burden of having to cart water.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford
“The dry conditions in the Wimmera are placing significant stress on local communities and we are working hard on improving water access and increasing security of supply into the future.”
“We will stand by drought affected communities and consult on what support they need as things get drier.”
Reviewed 10 February 2021