Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson MP will support the State Government in its efforts to secure Federal funding for the completion of the Myalup-Wellington Water for Food project in Collie.
The WA Government yesterday announced $37 million for the project and is seeking partner funding from the Federal Government and the private sector.
The irrigation project aims to desalinate and transform the reserve at Wellington Dam into water suitable for agricultural purposes, an initiative that has the potential to drive economic and population growth throughout the South West and Wheatbelt regions.
Mr Wilson said he would advocate for the project on behalf of Collie and the surrounding areas, with Federal funding most likely to be sought through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
“This is a very competitive programme – the Federal Government has held discussions with State and Territory Governments in relation to about 60 proposals seeking funding for feasibility studies,” he said.
“However, the WA Government has been extremely proactive in advancing its plans for this project and I’m optimistic we can present a good case to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.
“There is huge potential for growth in the agriculture and horticulture industries, not only in Collie, but nearby areas from West Arthur to Narrogin.
“I’ve had discussions with organisations such as Wide Open Agriculture, who are trialling agricultural projects in West Arthur with an overall objective of driving population growth in the regions through labour-intensive schemes.
“Greater access to water through the South West and Wheatbelt could help unlock some of this potential, and any project that looks to invigorate O’Connor’s regional communities will have my full support.”
In 2016, the Commonwealth provided $59.5 million from the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund for 41 water infrastructure feasibility studies and business cases around the country.
The Federal Government is currently accepting applications from state and territory governments for the uncommitted $192.5 million in the fund.
“We will begin assessing these applications in April,” Mr Wilson said.
“This funding is available from 1 July next year and we want to see projects moving as soon as possible.
“On the top of the Fund, the Federal Government has a $2 billion concessional loan scheme to further incentivise the rollout of new water infrastructure.”