PRIORITY FUNDING: Blackbutt High Security Agricultural Water could move to construction within the next three years. Photo: File.
PRIORITY FUNDING: Blackbutt High Security Agricultural Water could move to construction within the next three years. Photo: File.

Blackbutt irrigation project nominated for priority funding

THE Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) have identified Blackbutt High Security Agricultural Water as one of the top five ‘economically promising’ irrigation water infrastructure projects that the government should prioritise.

The QFF, partnered with consulting firm Jacobs, have indicated that the project could move to construction within the next three years.

Other projects to be considered include Lockyer Valley Water Distribution System, Coalstoun Lakes Water, the Gilbert River Irrigation Project, and the Bowen Pipeline.

QFF CEO Dr Georgina Davis said QFF was calling on the Queensland Government to invest $25 million collectively in these emerging water infrastructure projects to support the agriculture sector and assist in the state’s economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Dr Davis, after analysing forty-five existing water studies, these five projects ‘represent a potential positive economic net present value’ and need should be considered for pre-construction funding from the state government.

“Water is a key connector and enabler for agriculture,” Dr Davis said.

“We must not only ensure our existing water infrastructure is well maintained and fit for modern agricultural purposes but reconsider the government policy that new water infrastructure is built at full cost recovery, thereby pricing farmers out of the market.”

“We encourage the state government to consider advancing these five projects for the future of the state and to ensure farmers can continue producing world class food, fibre and foliage.”