Queensland Farmers' Federation CEO Georgina Davis. Pic Mark Cranitch.
Queensland Farmers' Federation CEO Georgina Davis. Pic Mark Cranitch.

Farmers demand $25m for projects, 3000 jobs

QUEENSLAND farmers are calling on the State Government to spend $25 million building five major water irrigation projects to deliver thousands of jobs and protect the state during drought.

Queensland Farmers Federation CEO Georgina Davis called for the Queensland Government to invest $25 million in emerging water infrastructure projects to support the agriculture sector and assist in the state's economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Projects include the Lockyer Valley Water Distribution System, Coalstoun Lakes Water, Blackbutt High Security Agricultural Water, the Gilbert River Irrigation Project, and the Bowen Pipeline.

The Bowen Pipeline, a 100km pipeline from Home Hill to Bowen is estimated to deliver 3000 full-time jobs and the remaining four projects are tipped to deliver thousands more.

Dr Davis said the projects, which were chosen from a list of 45, could move to the construction phase within the next three years.

"They represent a potential positive economic net present value and need modest new feasibility and pre-construction funding from government," she said.

"Water is a key connector and enabler for agriculture.

"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."

Dr Davis said it was essential water infrastructure projects were ready to go "to drive growth for the state and build resilience for farmers".

"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," she said.