WA “disappointed” by Federal Government funding snub

Posted 7 September 2017

Dave Kelly
The Federal Government has declined two Western Australian funding applications for projects developed under the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund (NWIDF). 

The Myalup-Wellington Project and the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme, which were predicted to create almost 1500 jobs, have been denied $180 million following the state’s application to the NWIDF. 

WA Minister for Water Dave Kelly told WAtoday the previous state government had erred in committing state funding to the proposed projects, considering how much extra funding would be required under the NWIDF.

"The former Minister for Water was extraordinarily busy in the dying months of the previous government, committing to numerous projects worth tens of millions of dollars – money that government did not have," Kelly said. 

“Before I commit [millions] worth of state government money, I will give those projects due consideration.”

The former state government agreed to investing a combined $56 million in the projects, an agreement reliant on receiving further funding under the NWIDF.

Despite his belief that the previous state government had overcommitted to the two infrastructure projects, Kelly said he is disappointed by the decision.

"This is yet another snub to Western Australian taxpayers from the Federal Coalition Government," Kelly said.

"[The] decision by the Federal Government means more than 1500 Western Australians have missed out on long-term jobs. I am incredibly disappointed by the Federal Government's decision."

The Myalup-Wellington project planned to replace existing irrigation channels inside the Wellington Dam, which are prone to seepage and evaporation, and to install a pipeline system to reinject water from the dam into Myalup-area aquifers. 

The Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme construction was set to commence in June 2019, but the denial of the state’s funding application may have jeopardised the scheme’s plans. 

The scheme aimed to identify new water supply options and increase availability in the south-west region.

WA Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the State Government will continue to push for federal funding.

"WA has received almost nothing from federal water initiatives – overwhelmingly money is poured into the Murray-Darling at the expense of WA,” MacTiernan said. 

"We have a realistic goal to double the value of our horticultural output in WA but we need real investment from the Federal Government to be able to reach that potential and create new jobs across regional WA."
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