Government called to fund MID in budget

Government called to fund MID in budget


Irrigation
PERFECT TIME: Gippsland Nationals MP Darren Chester is calling on the State Government to provide further funding needed for the modernisation project.

PERFECT TIME: Gippsland Nationals MP Darren Chester is calling on the State Government to provide further funding needed for the modernisation project.

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The state budget is the perfect time to announce further MID funding, according to Gippsland Nationals MP Darren Chester.

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Gippsland Nationals MP Darren Chester has called on the Victorian Government to allocate the remainder of funding needed for phase two of the Macalister Irrigation District modernisation project in next month's state budget.

In February, Mr Chester secured $31 million from the Federal Government - half the amount needed to complete the second phase of the transformation of the MID's ageing assets.

"The Federal Government is investing $20 million in phase 1B of the modernisation project, with the total cost split between the Australian and Victorian governments and irrigators themselves," Mr Chester said.

"The perfect time for the State Government to announce it will match the Federal Government's contribution to this important project and end any uncertainty is at the end of May, when its delayed budget is delivered."

Pipeline and channel work is now underway in the southern Tinamba supply area and will continue in the Mewburn Park area this winter as part of the $60 million phase 1B of the MID modernisation project.

Mr Chester said phase two works would boost jobs during construction and create ongoing employment as rural businesses expand.

"This next stage of the project will complete the transformation of the MID's ageing assets into a highly automated, efficient, modern water delivery system," he said.

"Phase two will save and re-invest up to 10 gigalitres of water back into the rural economy, secure the Newry and Stratford supply networks, boost Gippsland's output of milk and food, and reduce nutrient discharges to local waterways."

But Water Minister Lisa Neville said it had taken a federal election for the government to finally come to the party, when it came to infrastructure projects in Victoria.

"We've always been a strong supporter of the MID and have invested more than $36 million over the life of the project," Ms Neville said.

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